Amber Alerts Will Link to Photos of Missing Children Under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Upgrades

In a Report and Order adopted today, the Commission took action to improve WEA message content, help ensure that the messages reach only those people for whom an alert is relevant, and establish a WEA testing program that will improve the effectiveness of the system for public safety officials and the public. The updated rules will:

Increase the maximum length of WEA messages (from 90 to 360 characters) for 4G LTE and future networks 

Require participating wireless providers to support inclusion of embedded phone numbers and URLs in all WEA alerts, including WEA AMBER alerts, which will enable the public to click to see a photo or to call authorities 

Require participating wireless providers to deliver the alerts to more granular geographic areas

Create a new class of alerts (“Public Safety Messages”) to convey essential, recommended actions that can save lives or property (e.g. emergency shelter locations or a boil water order)

Require participating wireless providers to support transmission of Spanish-language alerts

Make it easier for state and local authorities to test WEA, train personnel, and raise public awareness about the service.

More information available here.