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I think OuroborosCobra already said what I was going to, really. The EBS has been able to co-opt your local signals for tests for decades now... this is just the exact same thing nationally. What's the big deal? Especially since it only covers TV and radio, as the official site itself notes. It's literally not even physically possible to co-opt the internet for such a signal to begin with. (Cell phones I honestly have no idea about.)
The only downside is that damn nightmare-inducing test message they always use. OK, granted, I guess it makes sense for an emergency signal to be nightmare-inducing, but your heart sinks into your chest every time you hear that droning, loud, brown-note-pitched BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP noise going on.
I would think I'd be ticked off even more by there being an emergency big enough to warrant a national alert that I wasn't informed about. Plus you can always go back to talking to your doctor again after the three minutes are up. Assuming they even can/do ever spread the EAS to cell phones. Or that they even use voice; it might be transmitted via a voicemail or text message instead.
Um. Pretty sure the doctor is going to understand that he should wait through a freakin' emergency message rather than dumping his patient in the middle of it. Not only that, but the doctor is going to want to listen to the message for his own benefit as well, since he's doubly going to have to worry about whatever issues the crisis is bringing (for his own sake and the sake of his patients).
The government created the internet, and it operates with the consent of the government, so they have a right to implement a warning system- just like the old "emerency broadcast system" preemption that happens on tv. I hope this happens when I'm at work... it'll be fun
I also wonder why there aren't conspiracy theories or y2k style panics about Friday after next- tripple eleven! Just wait for 11:11AM, 11/11/11!
Nobody is shutting down free speech. It's 3 minutes. Even if it was 5, or 10, we need to get over it. 'Free speech' is not more holy than the need to test an emergency system that could save millions of lives. Think about things like the tsunami and quake in Japan, the Sep11 attacks, etc. That's important. I'd want to know if the country was under attack no matter what media I happened to be using. Our nation's security is more important than some guy's interrupted conserva-blog post at 2 in the afternoon- wait- it won't interrupt him. Dam I was hoping for some shutdown fun!
There's nothing new with the concept except the technology to do it more efficiently and it continues a system which started as the Emergency Broadcast System [link] and is now nearly 50 years old. Providing communications capabilities to the President or authorities to deliver vital information quickly during a national emergency has nothing to do with shutting down the media. The internet will not be affected by the testing or actual use of such a system.
"..The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a media communications-based alerting system that is designed to transmit emergency alerts and warnings to the American public at the national, state and local levels. The EAS has been in existence since 1994, and its precursor, the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), began in 1963. Television and radio broadcasters, satellite radio and satellite television providers, as well as cable television and wireline video providers all participate in the system (collectively, EAS Participants). EAS Participants broadcast thousands of alerts and warnings to the American public each year regarding weather threats, child abductions, and many other types of emergencies. As such, the EAS will continue to function as one key component of a national alert and warning system that will provide alerts over multiple communications platforms, including mobile communications devices./"
Your television broadcast and internet are two different things, even if they are provided by the same service. Nothing is being "shut off". The government would be temporarily borrowing the television and radio broadcasts. What is being broadcasted on tv or radio has no influence on your internet. They already do this with local emergency alert systems, you've probably seen them before. They don't fucking turn anything off, the service providers just broadcast whatever announcement the EAS has instead of regular television programming. It has nothing to do with your internet.
I don't see any requirement there for the internet to be shut off. Granted it's impossible to broadcast the EAS signal through the internet, unless the DNS servers send everyone to "OHFUCKINGGODWEREALLGOINGTODIE.gov", which would be kinda awesome.
I don't consider a DVR to be a standard modem, though. DVRs, and most digital cable boxes really, are designed to interpret EAS relays from the cable/satellite company. Therefore those would be interrupted, but the internet itself will continue to work normally, as will computers and normal modems.