October 4, 2018

New Yorkers sue to stop presidential emergency alerts

Slashdot -Not everyone is pleased to hear that President Trump has the power to use communications systems in case of an emergency. According to CNET, three New York residents recently filed a lawsuit against President Trump and William Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to halt FEMA's new Presidential Alert messaging system.

The lawsuit reads in part: "Plaintiffs are American citizens who do not wish to receive text messages, or messages of any kind, on any topic or subject, from defendant Trump. [Trump's] rise to power was facilitated by weaponized disinformation that he broadcast into the public information sphere via Twitter in addition to traditional mass media."

The plaintiffs are also concerned Trump might use the alerts to spread disinformation because IPAWS doesn't regulate the content of the messages. That means Trump may be free to define "act of terrorism" and "threat to public safety," and may broadcast "arbitrary, biased, irrational" messages to "hundreds of millions of people," the plaintiffs say in the lawsuit.

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