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German warning day postponed because of iPhone

German warning day postponed because of iPhone
Written by insideindyhomes


On September 8th, the emergency should be rehearsed in Germany: No, not an invasion, but a possible weather catastrophe.

The nationwide warning day is a rehearsal for emergencies, this year a lot should be different: for the first time in Germany, a warning system based on cell broadcast should be tested. In practice, this should mean that all cell phone owners should get the alerts, not just those who have the federal alert apps installed. Now the “Wirtschaftswoche” reports with regard to the responsible authorities that the nationwide warning day 2022 is to be postponed. The warning day usually takes place on the second Thursday in September, so this would be September 8, 2022. According to sources in “Wirtschaftswoche”, the federal and state governments are agreeing on a new date later in the year. The reason for the postponement is therefore still a low level of support for the DE alarm by modern mobile phones. Currently only Android smartphones with Android 11 and 12 can receive a warning SMS, which is around a fifth of all cell phones in Germany. Apple will therefore only retrofit the option for DE-Alert, as the cell broadcast system is called in Germany, with iOS 16.

background

SMS warnings in the event of a disaster were only discussed in Germany after the failed warning day in 2020 and the flood disaster in 2021. So far, the technical and legal requirements for this have not been available. The new Telecommunications Act and the DE-Alert technical guideline based on it provide the basis for cell broadcasting in Germany, but the final version of the guideline was only passed by the Federal Network Agency on February 23, 2022. Although DE-Alert is based on the standards already in use, such as the OASIS Common Alerting Protocol or the EU’s EU-Alert, not only adjustments by the local mobile phone operators are necessary, but also implementation by the mobile phone manufacturers. Such implementations are not new for Apple: The warning messages in the USA are based on the Common Alerting Protocol, and the manufacturer is even being sued for such a message, because it apparently damaged a young person’s hearing. EU-Alert was implemented first by the Netherlands, the alerts have been sent in the country since 2012, they work on iPhones from iPhone 4S. Lithuania followed a year later, where state alerts work from iPhone 5S and iOS 8 . Romania introduced Cell Broadcast in 2017, sending alerts to iPhone X and newer.

We asked the press office of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance when exactly the nationwide warning day 2022 will take place. We asked the Federal Network Agency exactly how mobile phone manufacturers should take action to support DE-Alert. The answers weren’t available when this article was published, but we’ll update this article as soon as we get feedback.

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