Cell Phone Alerts Help Catch Alleged Bomber


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Millions of New Yorkers’ cell phones screamed out an air raid siren-like sound yesterday morning flashing a message that said “WANTED.”  The alerts signaled the manhunt for a suspected bomber in the Manhattan blast that occurred on Saturday but also represented the first digital manhunt in New York City.

Along with digital billboards, radio and TV stations, used by law enforcement to alert the public this modern equivalent of a “wanted” poster showed up on everyone’s phone.  TheTwitter alert looked like this:


Although “Alerts” have been issued before this is this the first terrorist-related use of the system.  Carriers have issued “Amber Alerts” with sirens for kidnappings and severe weather warnings.  At deadline the suspected bomber was reportedly caught in Linden, NJ following a shootout.

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