FCC Testing Wireless Alerts, 6 GHz Concerns, California Privacy Bill for Minors

The FCC will test the location accuracy of wireless tests over two days in September.

FCC Testing Wireless Alerts, 6 GHz Concerns, California Privacy Bill for Minors
Photo of California Gov. Gavin Newsom by Russell Yip for the San Francisco Chronicle from October 2018

August 31, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday it plans to test the geographic accuracy of wireless emergency alerts on September 12 and 13 to ensure the alerts are as geographically accurate as possible.

“Each state and local agency that is partnering with the FCC will send a Wireless Emergency Alert to the public in a targeted local area of its choosing at a specified time on either September 12 or 13,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, adding the commission sent letters to providers to get information about their emergency alert performance.

The test alert – which inform the public about dangerous weather, missing children and other critical scenarios – will say that it is a test and will ask the individual who received the alert to click on a link to complete a survey.

“Each agency will have a control group of volunteers in the targeted geographic area complete the survey, and members of the public may also do so,” Rosenworcel said. “The tests are intended to assess the geographic accuracy of the alerts in addition to other performance factors, including reliability and speed.”

National Spectrum Management Association concerned about 6 GHz sharing

The FCC’s opening of the 6 GigaHertz (GHz) band to unlicensed use by a possible one billion portable devices was done without proper testing, alleges the National Spectrum Management Association.

The association said in meeting notes with the FCC published Wednesday that the large number of devices have the potential to disrupt communication for workers such as first responders, ambulance services and pipelines workers, adding proper testing would have included real-world, peer-reviewed tests.

This band has “more than 100,000 links to microwave radio that form the essential communications infrastructure for first responders and other mission critical systems,” the association said.

In April 2020, the commission freed up 1,200 megahertz of the band for unlicensed use, which has drawn concern from industry and public safety advocates.

California legislature passes bill protecting minors online

California’s legislature passed a bill Tuesday that is intended to protect the mental health of minors on social media websites and platforms.

The bill, AB-2273, states that social media companies must mitigate the potential harm in areas that are likely to be used by minors. These companies must also disclose their privacy policies in an easily understood language for minors.

If companies were to violate this law, they must pay a penalty of up to $2,500 per child and $7,500 if this act was intentional.

If signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, it would take effect in July 2024.

The passing of the legislation comes after federal privacy legislation, known as the American Data Privacy and Protection Act – which would bolster protections for children online by raising the age on which companies could collect data and advertise – was pushed through the House Energy and Commerce committee last month.

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