A report by New York Magazine reveals that Trump, once he is sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2017, will gain access to a system that will allow him to send unblockable text messages to all Americans, a fact that might not sit well with people who are not fans of his tweets.
What Are Wireless Emergency Alerts?
According to the New York Magazine report, the text message system that Trump will gain access to is called Wireless Emergency Alerts, which is a part of a program that was established by Congress after passing the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act in 2006.
Through a WEA, text messages can be sent to all mobile phones that are hooked to a signal coming from cell towers within a specific geographical area. By sending out text messages to all cell towers in the United States, the system can then reach out to all Americans.
The Federal Communications Commission set the rules that a WEA could only be sent out for three reasons. The first reason is for Amber Alerts for missing children, and the second reason is for alerts on life-threatening situations.
The third reason for a WEA, however, is for alerts that are issued by the President of the United States.
The President And WEA
WEA messages have become more common over recent years, but so far, it has never been used by the President. Outgoing President Barack Obama has been a regular user on Twitter, but he has never issued an order to send out a message through the WEA system.
Similar to Obama, Trump is adept on using Twitter to send out his thoughts. However, with short text blasts among the President-elect's favorite modes of communication and his lack of reservation as seen in his outbursts on Twitter, giving Trump access to WEA could be a nightmare scenario for some Americans.
Will Trump Abuse The WEA System?
There is no strong evidence that Trump would be using the WEA system for anything other than national emergencies. For one thing, he would have to adjust the length of his messages, as the system currently only accepts messages of up to 90 characters, which is much shorter than the 140-character limit on Twitter.
In addition, all WEA messages will need to pass through the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System of FEMA, and most importantly, using the system requires training that Trump might not have time to sit down and take once he assumes presidential responsibilities.
Will Trump abuse the WEA system, despite the controls placed upon it? That remains to be seen, though for Americans that are not fans of his tweets, they are likely hoping that Trump does not do so.