Is It Time to Panic About The Presidential Alert and Privacy?

After the creepy Presidential Alert test went out this week, the more reactionary among us on the privacy front, warned the public they should fear for their personal security. Do we really need to worry about the government taking over our phones on top of everything else? The experts have weighed in.

Leading the call for alarm was the often off-kilter John McAffee, an eccentric, to be sure, but also an internet security pioneer.

Exiled privacy crusader Edward Snowden also expressed the need for concern about privacy and the Presidential Alert.

But before you smash your device in the name of anonymity, the more measured legal and tech experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation say those fears are overblown. EFF Senior Staff Technologist Cooper Quin explains why both Snowden and McCafee are wrong and spreading little more than conspiracy theories.

“There are many legitimate reasons to be concerned about cellular privacy,” he writes. “It’s important that we keep an eye on the real threats and not get distracted by wild conspiracy theories.”

Point taken.


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