Starting on January 20, Donald Trump will be able to send you unblockable messages.
Do you get annoyed with those spam texts you receive everyday? You’ve probably, at some point, gotten a text alert on your phone about some nasty weather, or alerts that continue to spam your inbox, or an Amber Alert about a missing child.
These 90-character messages, known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (or WEAs), are part of a program put in place after Congress passed the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act, in 2006. WEAs allow for targeted messages to be sent to every cell phone getting a signal from certain geographically relevant cell towers (or, in a national emergency, all of them).
All WEAs must be issued through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System, meaning that an emergency alert from the president still has at least one layer to pass through before being issued. Congress reportedly demanded that carriers make presidential alerts unblockable, which in Trump’s case means mass text messages at 3 a.m. may be a possibility. Brace yourselves!