RealNews

Paging Terror in London

BOMB ALRT – DONT PNC. It could be the future of text messaging – terse messages for tense times. A service launched this month offers to alert Londoners with short messages on their cell phones if there is a terrorist attack in their area. For a fee of 1.50 pounds ($2.40) a year, subscribers can register the postal codes of their homes and workplaces with the City Alert Texting System. If there is a terrorist attack, CATS promises to send a warning by text message, followed by instructions on how to evacuate the area or directions to the nearest hospital or aid station. “If there is an attack, people panic because they don’t know what to do,” said the founder of CATS, David Pieterse. “This makes for a very controlled evacuation system. We can deliver the message quickly and widely. And because of the postcode system we can be very specific with the instructions.” Pieterse launched his service in a week when troops in armored vehicles at Heathrow airport and hundreds of extra police officers were patrolling London amid concern over a possible al-Qaida terrorist attack. He said thousands of people had signed up for the service since it was announced Feb. 13, though he could not give precise figures. Full Story

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