Spy Blog: SMS disaster alert and warning systems - don't do it ! is a good summary of the issues with trying to implement my suggested SMS-Tree early warning system.

I do think though that some of the problems are overstated. The major one seems to be that an SMS tree is no different from email spam, and if you received an email spam warning of the Tsunami you wouldn't act on it. I think the biggest difference here is that one level down the tree you are receiving the SMS from a friend not from some arbitrary spammer. And the high level of manual intervention at every stage would work to verify the system and provide natural cut offs for "Crying Wolf".

"A self selected SMS flash mob "warning" system is no substitute for a proper Civil Defence and Emergency Services system, and tempting though it is to some people to create one, you should be kicking your government for proper resources for the latter and not be wasting time and lives on the former." I'm deeply distrustful of the ability of Governments and centralised bodies to build big systems n time and on budget. My proposal was really a straw man for bottom up and de-centralised systems as an alternative or parallel development. I happen to believe that bottom up systems can be built faster, cheaper and more effectively. But maybe this one was made of straw and has been comprehensively burnt. After all, he's pointing out all the problems that I knew would come up and had tried to deal with by at least having a central clearing house and having the first layer of the tree be trusted individuals.

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[ 15-Jan-05 8:36am ] [ ]