Saturday, April 9, 2011
Airport Security via Twitter: "B Cool, Run 4 Ur Life, No Parking in Red Zone!"
You do not have to be a constitutional lawyer to know that you cannot scream "fire" in a crowded theater. What about "terror alert" to a crowded airport?
The Associated Press reports seeing a 19-page, April 1 draft plan of the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") that discusses the replacement of the current color-coded system of terror alerts with a new two-level warning system that broadcasts alerts through Facebook and Twitter.
The Los Angeles Times reports that back in January, DHS said "The National Terrorism Advisory System alerts will be based on the nature of the threat: in some cases, alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in others, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through both official and media channels — including a designated DHS webpage (www.dhs.gov/alerts), as well as social media channels including Facebook and via Twitter @NTASAlerts."
The social media security alerts could be in place by April 27 and reportedly will have two warnings : "elevated" or "imminent" and be issued only after the FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, and the White House are notified. The alerts would have an expiration date, too.
The current system of alerts —"Severe," "High," "Elevated," "Guarded," and "Low"—implemented after the attacks of September 11, 2001, has not been changed since 2006, despite heightened terrorist threats since that time.
In 2010, a 26-year-old British man "tweeted" that he would blow up an airport if his flight was delayed by snow. He was convicted of sending a threatening message and fined £ 1000. Measured against this, it will be interesting to see how the federal government plans to responsibly and creditably informs the public of serious aviation threats