Prepared Testimony of FCC Public Safety Chief "This is Not a Drill: An Examination of Emergency Alert Systems", Senate Commerce Committee
The false alert issued on January 13th by the State of Hawaii, in which recipients were warned of an imminent ballistic missile attack, was absolutely unacceptable. The Federal Communications Commission acted swiftly in the wake of this incident to open an investigation into the matter. That investigation is ongoing—we had investigators on the ground in Hawaii just last week—but based on information gathered to date, it appears that the false alert was issued as a result of both human error and the state having insufficient safeguards and process controls in place to prevent that human error from resulting in the transmission of a false alert. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has advised us that it is working with its vendor to integrate additional technical safeguards into its alert origination software, and has changed its protocols to require two individuals to sign off on the transmission of tests and live alerts. We are quite pleased with the level of cooperation we have received from the leadership of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency thus far. 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.
We look forward to partnering with emergency management professionals from your jurisdictions on the alerting capabilities that they need to use the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert with confidence during crises when every second counts.
Prepared Testimony of FCC Public Safety Chief "This is Not a Drill: An Examination of Emergency Alert Systems", Senate Commerce Employee who sent false alert in Hawaii not cooperating with FCC probe, official says (The Hill)