The Emergency Alert System, the latest version of a program first established in 1951, blasts out emergency messages in the event of local weather emergencies, but can also be used to warn Americans about terror attacks and major natural disasters.
Every broadcaster in the country is required to participate in the EAS. Messages travel along a closed, private network, piggybacking from station to station. It can take up to 10 minutes for every radio, TV, cable and satellite provider to blare its alert.
Most messages in the system are restricted to specific states, counties or other geographic areas. But now the Federal Communications Commission has filed public notice of a rule change that would bypass the daisy-chain entirely and give the federal government instant access to all the nation's airwaves at once, in the event of a national emergency.
Some Republicans fear a system that would give the White House a way to address the entire country at will could be abused.
'Oh, great,' a Republican Capitol Hill staffer told MailOnline on Tuesday. 'Big Brother is talking to you.'
'Call me crazy, but I have a feeling we're going to see the definition of an "emergency" get looser and looser – especially as we get closer to an election.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2693145/Big-Brother-talking-New-emergency-alert-Obama-power-flip-switch-airwaves.html#ixzz3H8GKgXF6