tv Emergency Alert System CSPAN January 26, 2018 4:59am-6:50am EST
better prevent alerts like we saw with the hallway ballistic missile warning earlier this month. sharing state and local governments the safeguards to properly alert the public of an impending emergency is critical. alerts not only create an unnecessary panic but undermine the integrity of the alert system learning to distrust and confusion. what happened in hawaii must be addressed to ensure an incident like that never happens again. it is essential americans have an alert system they can trust by and large, i believe they do. there's much that is working well with the emergency alert system, it's arguably a model of public-private programs operating as envisioned by this committee through the war in. industry partners including those represented have been investing to improve the system and are working with government and public safety to carry out the mission. we serve certainly do not want to overlook the success
but as recent events have shown, there are problems that must be addressed. today's hearing will be the first to hearings on emergency alert systems, the near future we will hold the field hearing in hawaii to further address egypt january 13 false alarm and follow-up on issues discussed today. since the early days of the cold war the united states has been building an alert system to warn our citizens. first from the risk of a soviet attack and later expanded to include natural disasters like fires, floods, tornadoes and do not. we have continued to build on the system to include amber alerts which seek the public's assistance on danger. soon we will have blue alerts which can be issued when there is an imminent and credible threat to a law enforcement officer.from the beginning our emergency alert system would harness the immense resources of commercial medications systems, broadcast television, radio and eventually capable and satellite tv and mobile phone networks to reach the american public as effectively as possible. here's how the system works or should work.
our alert system relies on federal state and local officials authorized by the federal and state emergency management agency to decide when an alert is appropriate. these alerts are sent to fema. fema received the alert and validates that it is from an authorized entity before forwarding it to the broadcasters mobile phone provider who in turn cellular out on television, radio and mobile homes in the affected areas. communications commission regulates interface between sending the messages in a communication companies that deliver the messages to us. ensuring that people get the information they need and if alerts are credible, the recipients is an ongoing process but it is fundamental that messages must be credit. messages sent are like the hallway ballistic missile alert on the risk of undermining the alert system by reducing people's confidence in alerts. while we do not want to prevent unauthorized officials from communicating alerts whenthey see fit, you must ensure that such officials are better trained . there are additional
improvements we can undertake, for example there is no question the national weather service is watch and warning system they fly but it can be. that is why i included provisions in the weather research and forecasting innovation act of 2017 which became law last ring that require the national weather service to use the latest behavioral science to improve its watch and warning system. we should make sure that lessons learned from one incident inform and improve your alerts. the sec has taken steps to make improvements to the outlook system through the use of better geo-targeting messages which is being considered as current proceeding. that is targeting messages to those who need to receive them and not sending them to those who don't. in this helps avoid alert fees and also addresses the concerns expressed by some local officials during the california wildfires last year that an overly broad alert could result in trafficking jams with those unnecessarily leaving home and hindering the evacuation of those who really do need to leave. here today the goal of
providing timely emergency information to our community is also advanced by private citizens. like those amateur or ham radio operators who help connected after crashes like hurricane harvey, irma and maria. i'm pleased to welcome miss lisathe chief of the fcc's public safety bureau , mister scott, senior vice president of regulatory affairs and mister sam metheny, that's right. metheny, thank you. executive vice president and chief technical technology officer at the association of broadcasters and mike was an, the representative of the amateur radio relay. thank you for being here and i look forward to today's discussion and i will now recognize writing a number center shots for any opening remarks. and thank you too for speaking personally to the impact of this issue. >> you mister chairman. for many people in hawaii one of the most harrowing hours
of their lives are just a few minutes after 8 am on january 13 2018. cell phones across the state let up with a warning that a ballistic missile attack was imminent. the next 38 minutes both residents and visitors people were terrified as they scramble to get in touch with loved ones. i know , because i was home in honolulu that morning and started to get dozens of tax with screenshots of the alert asking me what was happening. meanwhile, the hawaii emergency management area spoken to pacific command and confirmed there was no missile. only nobody told the rest of us. people all may be relieved about the alarm, but they are also angry. all this was avoidable from the false alarm so do the serious mistakes at multiple junctures surrounding the incident ..
who tell us. that is why am introducing legislation with that authority for missile alerts. and to be safe and informed look for to hearing from the witnesses and what we can do better. >> thank you senator and we all look forward to working with you to make sure it doesn't happen with your constituents. senator nelson is here. by the way i thought yesterday's hearing at the auto show was outstanding so
if you were told a ballistic missile is inbound and our loved ones were spread out, what in the world would go through your mind? that is exactly what went through the mind of senator shots. regrettably it is real and personal and he received the alert. and to that situation and that leadership that i will be here simply to support him in this. nobody should have to go through with the full set of hawaii did but the flipside is
we want to make sure there is a system in place if there is an inbound nuclear warhead people are alerted. when disasters occur americans relied not only on the emergency alerts, but also the 911 system. but the infrastructure is aging and has been left behind congress must modernize that 911 system as a national priority that is why work with senator clover chart to introduce the next generation 911 act of 2017. i hope this is something we need a template to move ahead
this is a good bill to start moving ahead on. >> hopefully we can work together had to get done and specifically for the people of hawaii. we look forward to hearing from our panel this morning he will start with the chief of public safety at the fcc which has jurisdiction under scott bergman and the chairman of the advocacy committee from the board of directors and executive vice president national association of broadcasters. if you can confine your oral remarks we will make sure all testimony is made a part of
the record but that will give us time to ask questions. please proceed. >> good morning chairman, ranking member nelson and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you the false ballistic missile warning issued january 13 by the state of hawaii was absolutely unacceptable. with widespread panic and what it took to correct the error nearly 40 minutes compounded the problem. those mistakes were serious this damage the credibility of the emergency alert messaging which can be dangerous when a real emergency occurs. so that investigation is ongoing but based on ongoing information it is the result
of simple human error. second not to have a safeguard of controls in place to prevent the human error in the transmission of a false alarm. sending representatives to the agency and other stakeholders the hawaii emergency management agency tells us it is working with the vendor to integrate safeguards into its offer change in protocol to require two individuals to sign off on the transmission of test and alerts. we are pleased with the level of cooperation we have received thus far but we are disappointed however that one key employee the person who transmitted the false alert is refusing to cooperate with our investigation.
we hope that person will reconsider. moving forward looking at ways to keep this from happening again local officials need to work together to do what is necessary and we also must ensure that shed a false alert occur a correction is issued promptly to minimize confusion to have timely and life-saving information we must take our mom -- all measures and while the incident is present in our mind we cannot lose sight of those emergency alerts that enhance safety. the last five years refusing to issue over 33000 emergency alerts in california was used four times in those wildfires
in northern california and 16 times with the california wildfires. also with the hurricanes the commission has taken significant steps to handle those capabilities the commission adopted rules to enable wireless alerts to have more content and enable support in spanish. participating wireless providers were required to target alerts that is affected by emergency all providers are now required to transmit to a geographic area it is the area affected even smaller than a county so to further improve the system the commission will vote on an order requiring
wireless providers to target alerts with the overreach of no more than one tenth of a mile requiring carriers to require the alerts over 24 hours hours we look forward to partnering with professionals from your jurisdiction to use the public alert and warning system during times of crisis. i look forward to any questions you may have. >> on behalf of ctia thank you for the opportunity to testify about the role of emergency alerts. commending for the focus on this issue in the leadership over the last decade going back to the war in act of 2006 that created the wireless emergency alert program. that partnership with public
safety officials. since the launch it is a critical resource for hundreds of millions of american today serving more than 99% voluntarily participate in helping to locate those in danger they are deeply committed to have an effective resource for the american public so the recent false alert underscores the importance of functionality and integrity and credibility of the system and with that in mind my testimony will address the vital role to play the ongoing efforts to enhance the capabilities and importance to maintain the systems integrity.
a decade ago it was hard to realize the value now more than half of american households are wireless only we are a tool to reach those americans were ever they are. as part of a broader national system federal state and local authorities transmit messages to fema that authenticates and transmits wireless providers to messages to the targeted area. as determined by alert authorities. they do not control message content so to a particular area they are extremely effective for those directly impacted by an emergency. to help ensure everyone is aware of the alert wireless emergency alerts help to return objective children or
have severe weather events and help law enforcement catch terror suspects in the boston marathon bombing and chelsea bombing in new york city. as we continue to expand to have the content they can send to consumers -- adding additional characters and downloadable content we support these enhancements because members are committed to the life-saving success in the fcc plans to adopt in order to further target the geo capabilities given the expanding public safety message to support the geo-
targeting framework through innovative device -based solutions and significant standards still need to be done to support this capability for this reason of that proposed timeline of 2019 but the wireless industry will work contently to do so. finally the false alert underscores the public confidence to remain our highest priority. originators must send you dishes and authenticate messages accurately providers must deliver to the targeted area. we commend them for the lessons learned and appreciated call for best practice. there are many lessons learned to demonstrate the capabilities and to
authenticate the information. as part of the national alert system. to maintain public confidence. thank you for the opportunity to testify. >> as a member of the board of directors and to have approximately 175,000 members with those ham radio operators in the u.s. but there is a serious side far more than a hobby.
with emergency communications with fema and dhs with all the emergency communication with the salvation army. and as much as we think we are sophisticated often times the one thing that is up and running at camino difference between life and death. and with those emergency communication the role played is on full display on 2017. and to make landfall this cause significant damage puerto rico and the virgin islands and then in the aftermath using radio stations
in their homes to respond in large numbers. to the national weather service and national hurricane center. and then to provide restoration fema dhs or first responders they saw health and welfare communications maybe were no other method was available they provided all those communications for the salvation army. with an additional radio operators equipped with emergency operation kits to help restore communications in the immediate aftermath. as discussed to have a multitude of other things and the teams are prepared in any
emergency natural or man-made. may be highlighted under the hawaii for his work in connecting a maui family in puerto rico. to use that effective outdoor antenna from his residence to utilize the event of a disaster in now we. after the false alarm msnbc reported 90% of the people will be without communication and ham radio was one of the ways you can hear what is happening throughout the island whether or not people are okay or who is alive. while they rarely need anything from the federal government we must have the effective antenna to practice on our properties. the ability to practice our craft is being ready to perform in a crisis. we must have some sort of effective outdoor antenna.
and then to be ready when disaster strikes if any outdoor antenna today 90% all new housing starts are under deed restrictions which. amateur antennas. what they have done with the parity act's strike necessary ballots to install and in tenor and the ho a right to structure the placement. it is important to note that legislation since 2015 at that time the senator expressed reservations about the legislation there must be a happy compromise with intense negotiations with the only national association lasting several months. and to be in a happy
compromise as well as american red cross and salvation army. healthy will extend their support on the bill to ensure the community will be right when a disaster strikes thank you for the opportunity to speak of the role of amateur radio and i look forward to answer any questions. >> good morning ranking member and members of the committee i am the chief technology officer at the national association of broadcasters on behalf of the thousand radio broadcasters thank you for inviting me to testify on emergency alert system. to allow them to do even more
to keep them safe during emergencies. broadcasters take seriously their role at the most trusted source of emergency updates whether preparing listeners and directing for the disaster or helping to rebuild but sometimes it is only the available communications medium but turning to emergency of a factor of more than three/one it is unique for the following reasons. first broadcast signals reach more of the population more than any other medium.
and to have market specific information as well as national alerts if the emergency alert can reach millions of people simultaneously numerous lee independent stations in each market that deliver alerts broadcasting is resilient with those fuel supplies to keep them on the year. broadcaster information is actionable. and to provide enough information to enable people to understand what is happening and what steps they should take. broadcasters are trusted as members of the local community not speaking just as an authority but as a neighbor.
broadcasters are also the backbone of the emergency alert system they have operated in devolved a nationwide wireless network to deliver emergency alerts. this ensures they can be delivered independent of internet connectivity even when power outages disrupt other forms of communication. for emergency communications from beginning to end. it plays such an important role in infrastructure it is vital the government support and foster broadcasting. i would like to briefly outline three areas for consideration. first the next-generation television standard which was recently approved by the sec
for the emergency alert including the ability to wake up sleeping devices with geo- targeted alerts and send those multimedia files and even video files and what to do regulatory hurdles should not be placed in our way. second, broadcasters are in the final and most complicated days of the tension -- inception office. they will be moving to new channel assignments this will also impact over 700 fm radio stations on call located towers may need money without impairing the ability to access emergency alert. i ask your support of the viewer and listener protection
act onto by senators rand, schott and eight of their colleagues to hurt the passage if they are forced off the year due to a lack of funds or unreasonable time constraints. third, broadcasters are working with the service. fighters to activate the tips in the smart phone and has been very successful with the exception of adam long -- apple they should have future models of the iphone to improve access to vital information in times of disaster. in conclusion the emergencies large and small benefit from a strong and vibrant it is a resilient pathway i agree thank you for having me here today i look forward to
answering any questions i appreciate you talking about the important role they are here with the process if you can describe or explain the role the fcc plays an emergency alert system to that ipod's communication system? where is the jurisdiction is how do they relate to the whole sequence of events? >> the sec is responsible for the distribution part of the eas. we adopt and administer rules that apply to the communication service providers that participate in
that system. for example we have rules that participate to the wireless carriers in terms of infrastructure to react when it receives the alert like geo- targeting or the types of things we would govern that with the eas what their equipment must have to transmit the eas alert. we do not have authority over the alert origination piece where government agencies decide the alert will include
in the targeted area. that is not within our purview. but fema overseas the warning system. had a lurch origination piece the distribution by the service provider. >> do we need to change the rules based on this? >> that is something i can't answer we don't have a position on that but it wouldn't be so much changing a rule but something that would have to change but certainly if congress decided it wanted to make changes to provide technical assistance that we
>> so you describe this as a three-part process the origination alert and the clearinghouse function so this is a ballistic missile threat. why was the state agency involved in that alert? with the national weather service as they go out with a tornado threat but then a clearinghouse and how that go so messed up. anybody take a stab at that? >> from the fcc perspective we cannot give an opinion.
we are not involved who issues which alert that is a decision purely on the origination side. but with this incident i would have to refer you to fema or dhs. can you briefly talked about the emergency alert system? i know you talk generally but in light of this recent discussion of it has been a success in your view? >> over the last five years emergency alerts are a lifesaver returning kids who are objected, helped also void
tornadoes rolling through their town now we start to see the use to locate suspects and there are key reasons why the targeting is the only tool in the toolbox to help find you where you are in now as we continue to improve wireless emergency alerts we can access the better links to content to get that information and act on it. >> mr. chairman thank you for everything you have been doing a have a number of questions i will give them to you all at once you can take them to the extent you are still undergoing the investigation in hawaii but the first question is who gets the alert and who doesn't? you have those who turn off those push notifications.
so if on television a cable tv watcher doesn't have the opportunity to turn off those alerts we presume everyone must know over the airwaves why do we allow them to turn off alerts of that magnitude? fight in terms of an incoming ballistic missile? it seems we should have a system that doesn't give anybody discretion that the alert is coming. number one. my understanding is although this is voluntary with 99% coverage and then number three people are watching tv in different ways.
and we still rely heavily on the broadcast partners and don't forget the importance of radio in rural america especially but also those on youtube or lou had no report comes over faster so have a thought that people are watching television in a nontraditional way get those alerts? >> on the first question. people can opt out where it is issued by the president. so unlike other subscription -based alert system it is the opt out function.
that is coming from the president. >> limit that executive memorandum. why is that incoming missile not the kind of thing with the drafting of the warn act and don't know that specifically was contemplated that would be the highest priority alert and perfect for presidential. >> whether it is voluntary.
>> how do you reach those who are breaching television in nontraditional ways? >> that is a very good question and that is something we can look at. >> get back to us if you need those to move that along. and here's what you need to do to solve that problem. but with the quick verification to the hawaii emergency management society sign off on pushed edification ? >> no. they did not need permission.
and with the radio station responsible for emergency information. and the governor is having trouble getting through to dod i couldn't get through to the governor. what about the phoneline problem when everybody in one -- p next right to communicate text messaging is spotty we need phone conversations and that investigatory process. and without systems to communicate that literally with a red phone that need to talk to each other cannot do so. >> that is something we can
look back with the investigation. >> mr. chairman thank you for your leadership i can't imagine what that was like i would like to go to hawaii but my state director was there when this happened and told the story he was in a hotel with no basement and didn't know what to do. taking anything they could find for the emergency package if you think of that with kids or how scared they were that clearly changes how things have to be made. to focus on the legislation
with senator nelson cochair of the 911 caucus and to be with senator fischer so how can disaggregation or other incentives be used to increase coverage in wireless areas? >> thank you. i appreciate your work and those in the hardest to serve areas. the sparse populations make it difficult or make it easier to
have greater incentive that is the perfect tie-in of the focus today with the emergency alerts making sure we can build out to these areas and that will help. >> to help them receive the emergency alert, the fcc will be voting some -- soon within 1/10 of a a mile how will they verify those wireless alerts satisfy the new requirements?
>> because the proposal hasn't been voted on i cannot give more details. >> can you talk about how interoperability between systems increase effectiveness. >> that is an issue i will have to take back. and then to allow public safety officials that would require participating providers to shift from a network-based approach and then to target message once operational someone outside of a disaster area so how will wireless providers will ensure the new functionality?
>> and that public safety has identified with those emergency alerts that we can have the turn back the clock when emergency alerts were launched now today we have proof that down to the individual cell phone tower. this capability isn't only use the targeting of the network but also the device in that target area. a significant improvement with public safety. >> over the traditional broadcast network and to flood daily reports broadcasters can
continue operating during severe weather and to have additional information so what level of targeting will this capability provide? and what additional and that broadcasters can make available. >> you are talking of the next ten tv standard. >> first of all describing what i said. that is exactly what i was talking about. [laughter] and that is for waking up those devices if it is asleep that is a distinct feature now
once woken up we have the ability to do targeting. that is the actual implementation of that that is still developed and that is why it was just described with the affected area. we are still talking about that alert. additionally that multimedia content if it is a tornado or even a video file to come down and tell you explicitly what is happening a video on demand this would be in addition to
big event tuesday morning 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit in the gulf of alaska many of my constituents and coastal communities were told to relocate in land and many did in the middle of the night however some are not able to send the notification because of the process required by the fcc to set up emergency alerts and this is the case with regard many carriers are small companies so to go through that link the process the fcc that are there things you are looking at to streamline the
process to help those smaller companies? there have been reports that several radio station did not get their eas signals or after if you can speak to that on those issues. >> i'm not sure what they mean by a long process under the rule may send us a notification to say they are participating which means the geographic service areas or
they can elect to participate in fall which basically means they are participating across all devices and geographic areas. once they have done that the only thing to do is with the other carriers would be required to do to make sure the network is set up to receive alerts. but other than the direction itself there is not a drawn out process they have to go through. >> maybe we can work with you and smaller carriers who have concerns on the radio station? >> we are looking into the sunol me alert and include in
the investigation. >> there is no sunol me but it is very scary for hundreds of thousands of my constituents. >> thank you chairman for focusing on these important questions some of those could have been answered by fema and they are not at this hearing i know you requested them but it seems we should try to get some answers some way. and based on those answers they don't seem to have that information. we should be directing things too.
>> to that extent you ask about anything with those participation i would agree with those service providers. >> and with the fcc there are a few tribal nations on the state line in the navajo nation in three different states those tribal nations under the same requirements? >> no. they do not have to file separate plans. or to that extent of the tribal nation and that is how
the plan is set up. >> it is important to every bureau to engage directly with tribal nation. >> for example the public safety homeland security bureau oversees that advisory committee. and two hive representatives of tribal nations serving on that committee from those 911 centers focus on next-generation representatives of tribal nations as well. >> and it is important to get these alerts out many don't have it at all if you are dealing with an additional
huge hurdle to get those emergency alerts into the tribal nation territory. i appreciate the work the local broadcasters to everyday and with threats of public safety during wildfire season at various places around the country. and then to rely on translators to serve the world community. and it is my understanding that current allocation of $1.75 million is inadequate to meet the needs of the broadcasters. is there a better estimate including the funds needed to ensure the translators do not go off-line?
>> you are correct. and that is what the chairman pie testified to. >> he said there is not enough money he is on the record with that and we certainly don't believe there is no money either. based on the initial results of the cost estimates and a substantial and that is what is needed. and then to see that listener protection act that has sponsored to take hold to get approved. and then to continue to
operate including the translators in the context of this hearing into the population. >> i think we have to make this investment i have additional questions. >> thank you senator and your attempt to get fema here they need more lead time to prepare for this maybe in light of what happened. but i'm hoping by the time the hearing happens in hawaii we can get the other parties to the discussion to answer those questions.
there are attempts already to cure some of those problems we had this time around. since this occurred and then to get this on the record i'm pretty sure you don't know the answer or don't have it. but when they read this story at a cursory level how is it a single government employee can have any type of meaningful mechanism? if you have any thing to shed on that question? >> that is what we are exploring as part of the investigation. what happens in hawaii's process and what it was.
we will be interested to hear that. were the warnings broadcast over television? in a scroll? be make yes. it was a crawl than audio on radio. >> talking with somebody yesterday in a hotel room they must have missed the first scroll but they did get the warning system through their phone. both of them. they were visitors but to tell the senator that the hotel they stated was right on top of it. they encouraged everybody to come in. and to go to the basement and that is good to know the tourism industry is reacting
quickly to something like this also for those broadcasters with a thousand year flood two years ago i'm convinced we would have lost more lives if not having that rapid response and social media so thank you for that also to stay on the story it was not treated as such by the broadcasters. >> thank you for recognizing that it is one of the key elements to be part of the community helping to prepare. >> as a simple question do you get the phone -- alerts on your phone?
>> so to put premium to make sure we are doing everything we can. >> this is a major issue for us. and because of the nature and also the geographic nature that makes it difficult but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. and lastly to tell a story in 1941 my uncle was stationed in hawaii when pearl harbor was attacked. my mother was 15 at the time what was interesting with instantaneous messages and the retraction of 40 minutes she
said if weren't for the ham radio operators are parents never would have known their son was okay. but it took days to come across the country so your organization is well appreciated. >> if i may amateur radio was also involved in hawaii after the false alarm. and then activating and then to monitor those cancellations. ironically 20 hours earlier they drilled with high loan -- hawaii emergency management this type of scenario and then
20 hours later it was in our face there were operators present from hawaii emergency management but on that various mechanism to pass that message along amateur radio operators were trained to the siren railings each one would determine which type of emergency it was. but there was no siren. that led to confusion. and then before the official cancellation. so they did start to send that message along so they did
start to send that message along to relay that story, that skepticism of this is a test or this is real, i do think we won't have this testing fatigue if nothing is really happening. so the better the system gets, and more reliable the more frequently it needs to be tested in different places that goes to this mentality of a false alarm i will wait it out to see what happens i encourage her efforts. >> and there is a professional
football team in massachusetts. and then to look for that so the rule would be implemented 2019 to increase the character count. can we get that done more quickly? also how do we telescope the timeframe? >> that will last us pass on more information to explain the situation better certainly an industry of over delivering.
>> so you could set a goal? >> i wouldn't want to get ahead of the deadline we are doing everything we can. >> we saw that deadline a little bit too far out. we needed deal so let's talk about a meltdown at the power plant in massachusetts and those that would ride past the plant and this event just occurred in hawaii with the missile threat inbound to seek immediate shelter.
so what is the information communicated? and then show mom -- told to shelter in place. where do you go? if there isn't a nuclear meltdown we have 100 plants. but it is possible. so should there be more information and that is a little bit of guidance. as much as 360 characters. >> and why the commission
expanded the alert from 90 about 360 was because the need to provide more information. in addition the commission also adopted rules to allow for the alerts to include those embedded references but the commission has now given the advance in technology to allow those to be included. there are other issues before the commission in terms of other types of information to be provided. >> that is very important
because people want to know do i shelter in place? and that is one of the big issues to be identified going back to the hawaii incident, don't know how much thought has been put into the question of state control but obviously north korea could make a miscalculation if they think we are preparing for nuclear. if they think that you have a hairtrigger response policy that will be triggered with the emergency evacuation plan. has anybody thought to that
reality? is that because the united states might be on the verge of attacking that issue? we are focused on the distribution side. that is where i have to refer to fema and dhs. >> with those decisions should be made by the president and pentagon it is imperative to be put in that larger context. too many threats already issued and a catastrophic situation.
>> mr. chairman and ranking member thank you for holding this with tsunamis and earthquakes and volcanoes and flooding and to pay attention to those disaster issues. and to spend a lot of time on the development that is the earliest detection and now working very diligently to work on the handheld devices. and with that investment of technology so who in the federal government owns the
protocol to make sure that coordination happened but how do we sure that information is there? so to be on the long beach peninsula to establish warning sirens and information nobody tells us this is what we should be developing but to have an isolated community how to figure out with a synonymy. because they said this is what will happen no we train
constantly and between national guard, local responders, department of homeland security? and how we establish safeguards so that these mistakes or information gaps are avoided in the future? does anybody have a thought? >> in terms of the communication certainly the fcc works with the service providers how they are supposed to react to transmit the alerts.
on the team aside i have to refer but just in terms of general coordination but regularly to coordinate but just in terms of texting or dealing with some of the issues to making. a lot of the states on the western side of the country that do the tsunami and earthquake test. under the rules you can't unless it is an actual emergency.
and to have broadcasters or other participants to allow them the cable operators as part of the broader soon on me exercise i am not trying to stump the panel but i do know we have gaps. because of the national guard the tech sector is so strong they have established hygiene issues for cybersecurity. the ten things you should follow for good cybersecurity hygiene. somewhere it seems we need a protocol list what emergency response sherbrooke like and the safeguards in place whether county or state or the
federal system we need the information we desperately want this earthquake may be only minutes to respond. and we want to see but those that have safeguards for the false alarms and i remember one moment in hawaii's history it went on for hours they thought a tsunami wave was going to hit. that is why we deliver -- developed the belief system and it did work in kodiak on the science level that the wave would not be that great.
so that there are safeguards for the public. >> i do wish fema was here i think they are a part of this discussion i echo those concerns for my colleagues today and appreciate your comments today one of the things i do have concerns about a very diverse and growing population of language barriers. i know you talked a little bit about this to enable spanish-language alerts can you talk a little bit more about that that they are sent
to everyone? not just spanish-language alone. but that language obviously is a barrier that does not speak spanish. talk about how you address those to keep that in mind reaching out to everyone in our community when there is a crisis. >> and the commission adopted rules to facilitate spanish-language alerts. we do currently have the broader issue pending before us we are considering regarding other languages we
should be looking at other types of languages. >> also could you talk about mr. bergman how you overcome the barrier with the technology? >> we agree it is needing improvement and working diligently because we think those ideas with the opportunity to get additional information and is valuable. >> beside language barriers i echo my colleague there is geographic barriers in nevada and across the country.
and then to use that technology that is out there. and then continue to support resources to connect them. but they are not connected right now and it is a focus for many of us. cybersecurity, is there any concern is there any concern hacking into a system whatsoever? if you are addressing the infrastructure? >> the fcc has addressed the issue of cybersecurity through the advisory committee. a hacker gained access to the
gaas equipment and broadcast stations across the country. we conducted an investigation and we ask them to have best practices to make their equipment more secure. in addition then to develop best practices and all of those sectors and how to implement the framework. there is no guarantee they will be adopted but to strongly encourage and then to implement those practices and we also work with industry
organizations that has done a lot to encourage its members. >> was still on the state of encouragement not necessarily mandating that. i appreciate the conversation. thank you senator. also thanks for the witnesses today participating in this discussion at the university of hawaii not even you. [laughter] but a fascinating test case
because on the one hand it was the way it was supposed to it was the false alarm but the execution worked as designed and effectively disseminated to the population on the other hand the state was terrified for nearly an hour and i landed in south korea on my way to the dmz when this happened so the situation exposed gaps with the ergonomics of the software and it seems to me the questions raised and the disseminate her.
and that that broadcast infrastructure the transmission worked the message did get out and in this case as we have been discussing we have to go to the fema side to see who generated the alert and how it is generated but relating to the dissemination and transmission that peace worked as designed. >> i agree as well on the wireless side it did work as intended and a key focus of this hearing is to have trust and confidence in the system and we have that on the delivery side that extends across the entire system.
>> so to come back with the recent tsunami warning in alask alaska. that is more of an appropriate test case sent to a right lung -- a wide loss of residence and many did not need to be alerted the alaska example exposed a potential gap with the effectiveness and i had this situation in illinois in chicago major metropolitan areas so my understanding is in anchorage they receive the alert at 12:30 am even even though they were not in the danger zone geographically. i understanding the side of caution but it seems more
likely to have a boundary to play a role with those receiving the alert. >> has the fcc done any after analysis to determine in this instance? >> we are in the process of looking into it. >> do you have how long an idea? >> i don't have a specific timeline but my moves very carefully and expeditiously. >> what can you tell us about geo- targeting technology and the gaps and where should we focus our attention or if they have gps locator turned off? >> one of the most important
improvements is improving that geo- targeting it is exactly why we target to those who are actually in danger and not over alerting. there are two components now taking advantage of greater capabilities so they can draw the polygon of the carrier they want to reach in the next step was taking advantage not only of the network but the capabilities so turning on features like location to take advantage of that location to geo- target but if it is turned off you will receive the message still.
>> i am out of time. thank you. >> thank you for being here and your written testimony. on page nine you talk about the hawaii amateur radio operators during the recent false alarm. how were the operators able to disseminate the cancellation before others? can you explain how amateur radios could provide that notice before others? >> let me start by thanking you with your bill. >> and i might point out that senator blumenthal is a
cosponsor as we appreciate his bipartisan support. >> as i mentioned earlier monthly, amateur radio was just rolling 20 hours before the false alarm so everything was fresh but because they are able to work outside the infrastructure they got word out about the false alarm 15 minutes after the initial alarm. but they were picking up information from other sources just outside of the area and as a result because they could
disseminate that information freely they got that out right away whereas there was a lot of confusion because they were taught to listen for a certain type of siren warning that never came so they were dependent on information they were cleaning on -- gleaning from itself. >> okay. i will switch to katrina. why in situation like hurricane katrina are the immature radios so much more resilient to be there as a backup to the more well-known?
>> first of all we are dependent upon the infrastructure if the power goes down we can use generators and batteries and because we understand how radio works we can figure out very quickly a situation where first responders are using technology that they try to adapt to a different situation because they don't have that understanding. so to take notice of the surrounding to be effective at that point but the big thing is when all else fails to provide community education is required. >> so things are okay but why
but he is so severe that we have people in their homes waiting for help. we had amateur radio operators who work inside a flood zone and were able to send messages to first responders outside of the flood zone to where people needed help and very often in an emergency that nature it's as important to know where you need help and where you don't need help so you don't waste the resources that you have which are limited. so you don't want to send a first responder to the wrong address when there's nobody there. we have learned that it's that dissemination of resources that is a strong point for us. >> thank you. >> senator wicker. anyone else for the good of the order? >> inc. we are pretty well covered this subject today with the folks that are here and as i mentioned earlier there were folks that were not here to shed light on some of the other
aspects of the way this process works but it's clear to me at least i think most the members of this committee that we need to make some changes at least with respect to the kind of alert that was issued and why when it's a nuclear attack a think the chain in that alert system needs to be modified to reflect the seriousness of the threat not that any of them aren't serious but obviously this is a very different sort of threat. but thank you so much for the work that your various organizations do in alerting the public and encourage you to continue to work to develop processes and technologies so we can become even better and hopefully more efficient in seeing that people have the notifications they need in the face of various disasters that come our way. so thank you.
people keep the record open for members on the committee who would like to submit questions for the record for a couple of weeks and would ask the witnesses as soon as they can to get those responses and, preferably in a couple of weeks time so we can close out the record in the hearing and we again appreciate all of you being here today. with that, this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> would the is your next step? >> i think there would be, we think there would be an authorization bill at some point for an opportunity to legislate in that space it would be in conjunction with that bill. but we are going to have another follow-up hearing in hawaii.
we haven't set a date on that yet but, so we will hopefully be able to get fema and some of the other folks that weren't able to be here today at that hearing and we will drill down to figure out what needs to be fixed and how to do that, what's the best way to do that. >> we are still discussing it trying to figure out what we can do to maximize the opportunity for members to attend which means it has to be over one of the congressional work breaks so we will figure that out and let you guys know when that is. >> you heard senator cantwell talk about the tsunami alert. there are other alert systems that work just like hawaii. >> yeah and that's why i think you know we have to figure out and in this case my understanding the way it works is fema thrift ipod system
delegated out in this case to state agency some of that responsibility for the alert and whether or not that process needs to be modified is something we will take a look at. clearly in the event of a nuclear attack norad is presidential and that's what senator schatz is attempting to get at with this though which on the surface make sense to a lot of us but we definitely need to figure out how we keep what has happened this time from happening again and we are still trying to put all those pieces together. [inaudible] >> this bill would be under his his --. >> doesn't have a markup then? >> we probably wouldn't alessa something that triggered our jurisdiction but if it has fcc components and if it would they would come under our jurisdiction.
we will take a look at that at what he is proposing and see if there are other things that we will take into consideration what we have heard today in the subsequent field hearing and see if there are other things like i said that we can do to divide and make the system work better and avoid what what i think was a very potentially catastrophic situation. if nothing else certainly an embarrassing situation. >> the framework you are talking about for best practices maybe that would be under your jurisdiction so maybe you might have a piece of it. >> that's why we asked the question today of the fcc and clearly they don't have the authority right now to do that so that something we have to take a look at. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
u.s. conference of mayors. >> we are so excited that everybody is here. thank you all for joining us this morning. let me thank my cohosts from anaheim and from providence. this is a three-person show that we have done for a couple of years. i want to welcome you on behalf of the latino alliance. and also you will hear from these gentlemen who have done an extraordinary job leading our immigration platform at the u.s. conference of mayors. i want to thank each of the mayond
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