The heavy rains caused by the DANA in the central area of the peninsula caused many Madrid residents to receive a notice on their mobile phones yesterday. with an alarming sound and a message alerting of the situation. And this time it was not a test, but a real alert issued by Civil Protection.
Although this possibility has been known for a long time, the truth is that there are those who harbor doubts about the legality of these types of notices, given that they reach all mobile phones that have this option activated and are in a certain area simultaneously. And we already anticipate that yes, it is completely legal.
You will not be able to report a data breach, but you can deactivate the alarm
The alert system is called Es-Alert and is used to notify a certain geographical area of emergency alerts such as the storm that is experienced these days, but also in the face of other emergencies such as fires or earthquakes. Its operation is based on Cell Broadcast technology, which allows precisely the same alarm to be issued to different areas of a population simultaneously.
Precisely when using said technology It does not even require an Internet connection, or voice and data coverage. If you have not received any since it was operational, it appears visually as another mobile notification with the alert signal and the Civil Protection message, accompanied by an alarm sound that, yes, we recognize that if it catches us again it can scare us a lot.
The fact is that this system is not intended to annoy or create chaos, but quite the opposite: to warn of an exceptional situation so that citizens are informed and act according to the recommendations of the experts. And since they are general alarms (even for a certain area) do not violate data protection lawssince no records of identified persons are obtained either.
The latter is something confirms even FACUA. Apparently, they are receiving requests from users who want to report a possible violation of the GDPR, but it is not possible to denounce being within the framework of the law.
In any case, we remember that these alarms can be disabled, since they are activated by default on both iPhones and Android phones. The deactivation process is very simple:
- On iOS: Open the mobile settings, go to ‘Notifications’, go to the bottom and deactivate the ‘Civil Protection Pre-Alerts’ option.
- On Android: Enter the mobile settings, go to ‘Security and emergencies’, then enter the ‘Alerts’ section and deactivate the ‘Civil Protection Pre-Alert’ option.
It should be said that this type of notice They include three types of alarms divided by levels. On the one hand, those of level 1 that warn of imminent emergency situations such as those of DANA, those of level 2 that offer advice for certain less serious situations and then those of level 3 that request citizen help for a certain emergency situation.
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