&nAT&T was forced to issue an apology to their U-verse subscribers as a false emergency warning was issued across their U-verse service. The warning was viewable in Tennessee, Texas, Michigan, Georgia and even areas in Southern Mississippi, and as a result – automatically changed channels to a local NBC news affiliate.
The warning urged users to avoid phone lines at all costs as there was an important message coming from the White House, following the start of the warning at 10am on the 24th of October. People were so outraged by the warning that many lashed out on social networks, and complained heavily to AT&T. Thankfully though, the warning did not create any widespread hysteria, and it just annoyed some customers in the process.
A spokesperson for AT&T said, “This false message was carried on our network, as well as some other subscribers.” The warning came in the form of a red and white banner that looked like an ordinary warning message that is tested weekly by many television service providers.
FEMA noted publicly that they were looking at the problem, and trying to determine what might have caused it – but as of right now, it would appear as though the issue is technical. However, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In fact, it’s the second time that something of this nature has happened just in this calendar year.
In February, the Steve Wilkos show was interrupted in Montana, as hackers broke into the system, and actually put forth an emergency message that claimed the dead were rising from the grave. While that was wildly inaccurate, it pointed out significant flaws in the system – as they pointed out.
This is just another case of the technology that’s being used falling short in terms of being full-proof. Many of these systems rely on automated features, and don’t require extreme technical triggers to be tripped, and activated. In comparison, this could have been significantly worse, and it really does expose a serious flaw.
Many have argued that with it being this easy to put a message out, an emergency message could also be withheld without any issue as well if an important message needed to be sent out.