AMBER Alerts Now Available Via Text Messages to Canadians

by Gaurav Kheterpal on June 1, 2010

Till last week, AMBER alerts were available in Canada only through TV and radio broadcasts, but now Canada’s wireless telecommunications industry, in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and AMBER Alert agencies has introduced Wireless AMBER Alerts for cellphone users. These alerts are issued to the public after a reported child abduction and will be sent as free text messages to users who sign up for this service.

The carriers who’ve joined the Wireless AMBER Alert initiative include Bell, Fido, Koodo, MTS, NorthernTel, Rogers, SaskTel, Solo Mobile, Tilibec, TELUS, Videotron and Virgin Mobile. Collectively, it represents a reach of 23 million Canadian cell phone customers across all ten provinces and three territories.  The service is hosted and powered in-kind by Toronto-based digital media company MyThum Interactive.

While radio broadcasts and TV are effective media for AMBER Alerts, text messages on cellphone have a far wider reach than any other media. What’s more, most users are likely to have access to a cellphone as compared to a radio or TV at any given time. IMO, it’s a welcome move and can provide vital clues and information so that more children can be returned safely after abduction. Sharing information on cell phone is instantaneous and can play a crucial role in soliciting public’s help in the safe and swift return of the child.

Shawn Hall with Telus says

“With our six million wireless subscribers alone, the new system could reach a lot of people. Wireless technology has evolved to a point where this is possible and this is actually the second launch of a significant public safety initiative using new wireless technology this year.  The first in February, was the launch of an enhanced 911 location system that uses GPS and triangulation to narrow down the search for someone when they call 911 on their cell phone.”

Bernard Lord, who heads the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, added

 “If one of our most precious citizens is abducted, wireless Amber Alerts can put the immediate power to help in the hands of Canada’s 23 million cellphone customers.”

If you would like to sign up, click here.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. >. Follow > by: RSS>, Twitter >, >, or Friendfeed >

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