Mobile Technology and the Transformation of Public Alert and Warning

by Hamilton Bean, Foreword by Art Botterell


The devastating 2017 Northern California fires spurred emergency managers to demand upgrades to the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, including improved geo-targeting and multilingual messages.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Mobile Technology and the Transformation of Public Alert and Warning

October 2019


Pages 207
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/Science, Technology, and Security

This timely book provides the inside story of the development of mobile public alert and warning technology in the United States and addresses similar systems being used in Australia, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands.

This book provides a comprehensive account of how mobile-smartphone systems are transforming the practice of public alert and warning in the United States. Recent events have vaulted mobile alert and warning technology to the forefront of public debates concerning the hazards of the digital age. False alarms of ballistic missile attacks on Hawaii and Japan, the non-use of mobile alerts during the Northern California wildfires, and the role this technology plays in supporting police manhunts and counterterrorism efforts have prompted reconsideration of how these systems are used.

Drawing upon interviews with officials, executives, experts, and citizens, the book provides an in-depth analysis of the events and contexts influencing the trajectory of mobile public alert and warning and charts a course for its improvement. The book first introduces readers to the high stakes involved in the transformation of public alert and warning, explaining how new research is revealing the benefits, limitations, and risks of mobile technology in the disaster communication context. Three case studies then illustrate issues of risk, trust, and appropriateness in mobile public alert and warning.


  • Offers a critical assessment of the development, use, and consequences of mobile public alert and warning technologies in the United States from 2006 to the present
  • Provides a comparative discussion of the development, use, and consequences of mobile public alert and warning technologies in Australia, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands
  • Offers a reader-friendly, state-of-the-art assessment of empirical research concerning mobile public alert and warning messages
  • Includes three case studies that show the relevance of research with respect to the efficacy of mobile alert and warning technology in response to danger
Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Covering global hot spots from Iran to Venezuela and subjects ranging from terrorism and cyber warfare to food security, books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, academic researchers, journalists, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth analysis and international perspectives that are unavailable in the mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and policymakers as well as for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Author Info

Hamilton Bean, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado, Denver. He has published more than 25 academic studies of communication and security, including Praeger's No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence. He is affiliated with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and from 2012 to 2015, served as principal investigator for "Comprehensive Testing of Imminent Threat Public Messages for Mobile Devices," a U.S. Department of Homeland Security–funded research collaboration.

Other Titles of Interest

Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection, 2nd Edition cover imageHomeland Security Technologies for the 21st Century cover imageCyber Threat cover image
The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars cover imageEmerging Military Technologies cover image

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