Testing Today at 2:18 PM – Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) System.

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IPAWSPlease be aware and spread the word that beginning at 2:18 PM today, Wednesday, October 3rd and lasting for approximately 30 minutes, the federal government will test the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system for the first time.  This test was originally planned for last month, but delayed due to Hurricane Florence.

While this has been politicized as President Trump wanting to be able to text every cell phone in the nation, this is merely an extension of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) that we are all familiar with.  That distinct tone and screen you hear and see on radio when the Emergency Alert System is tested is being extended to devices that can receive text messages from the cellular networks.  This is part of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).  You may download a fact sheet about this test here.

The following are the details about today’s test:

The National EAS and WEA test will be held on the backup date of October 3, 2018, beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on the backup date of October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016,  and September 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert” and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

The test was originally planned for September 20, 2018 but has been postponed until October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.

Double Your Donation Thanks to CompTIA

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If you would like to help the victime of Hurricane Florence, the Computing Technology Industry Association, CompTIA, the worlds largest technology trade association is making it save, easy and impactful to do so.  With so many scams out there, trying to take advantage of tragic situations, it’s so important to only donate to organizations that you are certain will direct your money to those who really need it.

CompTIA will match donations, up to $100,000, so if you’ve been waiting to make a donation, make it count twice.  This is just another reason why I am a proud CompTIA member.

Here are the details:

DoubleDonation

Since Hurricane Florence made landfall, we’ve watched the tragedy unfold on a massive scale. From its initial impact to the still-falling rain and overflowing rivers, it’s impossible to ignore the urgent and ongoing need for aid.

But we’ve also seen incredible acts of humanity. Neighbors help neighbors, and organizations of all sizes band together to bring relief. Together, let’s help people get the necessities they need to begin rebuilding.

Please join CompTIA in donating to the Heart to Heart International, a global humanitarian organization based in Lenexa, Kan., that has worked to respond to the needs of disaster victims worldwide since 1992. Heart to Heart has been working with local partners to identify areas of greatest need, providing medical support and aid distribution.

We’ll match your donation up to $100,000. Donate now to double your impact.

Thank you for your support.

Donate Now

 

It’s National Preparedness Month

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Every September, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declare National Preparedness Month.  As we find ourselves watching the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence in the Carolina’s and the aftermath of the frightening natural gas explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts last week, the timing couldn’t be more poignant.

This years themes focus on making and practicing your disaster plan, learning life saving skills, being sure you have proper insurance and saving for an emergency.  There are a ton of useful resources on the main web site for National Preparedness Month 2018.  I encourage you to check them out.

As you review the multitude of resources available on the site, be sure to scroll down and click through the Web Resources listed under week.  I’ve also included these links below.

Week 1:  September 1-8Make and Practice Your Plan

Web Resources

Week 2:  September 9-15-Learn Life Saving Skills

Web Resources

Week 3:  Sept 16-22-Check Your Coverage

Web Resources

  • Insurance is the first line of defense; check your insurance coverage and review the Document and Insure Property guide.
  • Flood Insurance allows communities and families to recover more quickly and more fully. Visit Floodsmart.gov to learn more about flood insurance and how to protect your home or business.

Week 4: Sept 23-30-Save For an Emergency

Web Resources

 

Hurricane Preparedness

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As the mid and south Atlantic seaboard prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Florence,HurricaneFlorence the rest of us should heed the very real warning that’s taking place in those areas.  Obviously my thoughts and well wishes go to everyone in harms way.  Hopefully, the evacuations began early enough that no one will be left in danger.  The predictions are ominous and while I sit here in New England, presumably safe from this storm, it is an opportunity to take prudent steps to prepare for any storm that may impact us and our businesses throughout the year.

Yesterday, CompTIA posted an excellent blog post about preparing for Hurricane Florence.  Mike Semel, president of Semel Consulting, a long time CompTIA member and colleague, contributed to the post with some excellent advice, including links to basic preparedness supplies you can get quickly with via Amazon Prime.  I encourage you to read the post and be prepared.

CompTIA Blog Post: How to Prepare For, and Survive, Hurricane Florence

Mike also put his checklist and supply recommendations into a downloadable checklist and clickable shopping list.

Download: 2018 Semel-Disaster-Checklist& Amazon Disaster Products Order List

Thanks to CompTIA and Mike for sharing this important information, for the benefit of all.


In case you don’t like to click links, I have copied the post below.  I ordinarily do not copy content from another site, but due to the importance of this information and the fact that CompTIA and Mike are making this publicly available, I am making an exception.

Following is the text of the CompTIA blog post:

Hurricane Florence is set to hit the mid-Atlantic coastline this week, and the latest prediction models show that it will be the size of the entirety of North Carolina when it hits North Carolina. The image to the right was tweeted by meteorologist Eric Holthaus on Sunday – an undeniable visual showing us the enormity of the coming storm. Florence will reportedly be as impactful as Hurricane Fran in 1996, Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and perhaps even Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

The most terrifying element here is the initial impact, but, as with any natural disaster, Florence will leave a lengthy recovery process in its wake. There will likely be flooding, damage caused by felled trees and significant power outages – that last piece potentially the most frustrating given the long-term interruption of everyday life and of course business operations.

“As Hurricane Florence aims towards many CompTIA members, our thoughts and prayers are with them, their families and their co-workers,” said Mike Semel, president and chief compliance officer of Semel Consulting and a 36-year CompTIA premier member. “We hope everyone stays safe and dry.”

In that spirit, Semel has shared with CompTIA some valuable resources to help get set for Florence.

With e-commerce what it is today, hurricane preparedness doesn’t necessarily have to mean raiding stores. Semel found a range of products that will prove essential in the wake of the storm and are available to quickly ship from Amazon Prime. These include:

Further, Semel has assembled this preparedness plan. There’s a lot to consider before a storm hits and, if you’re in the Carolinas, this list will help you fully prepare in advance of Florence.

Family and business communications plan

  • Write down critical cell and landline numbers in case your phone dies.
  • Know where your family members or business colleagues will meet if cell towers and landline phones go out.
  • Designate an out-of-area relative everyone should contact if they can’t reach each other.
  • For your business, complete a contact sheet for all workforce members, including their personal e-mail address, their spouse and partner contact info and an out-of-area contact you can call if you can’t reach your employee.

Water

  • Buy cases of water or fill pots and pitchers with drinking water – one gallon per day per person.
  • Store 10 gallons of clean water for cooking.
  • Use food-grade water containers from camping stores.
  • Replace your water every six months if you’re not using commercially bottled water.
  • Never use water from toilet flush tanks or bowls, radiators, waterbeds or swimming pools and spas.
  • Purchase water purifiers to filter contaminated water.

Food

  • Store non-perishable food you don’t have to cook.
  • Include food needed for special diets.
  • Store non-perishable food for your pets.

Utilities

  • Know how to turn off your power, water and gas services.
  • Keep tools near your shutoffs for quick action.
  • Never turn on your utilities until authorized.
  • Always have a professional turn your gas back on.

 Cash

  • Withdraw $200 to $300 in small bills so you can make cash purchases, as credit cards won’t work if power and communications go down. Automobiles
  • Fill your gas tank when you first hear a warning.
  • Don’t drain your car battery charging cell phones or other devices.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car in case you are stranded away from home.

Cell phones

  • Register your cell phone to receive calls from your county’s emergency management system.
  • Install weather and disaster preparedness apps and configure for alert notifications.
  • Use text messages as they use less battery and get through when calls can’t.
  • Photograph the contents of your house or business now.
  • Store emergency contact info for family members and employees, including alternate e-mail contacts and phone numbers for their close friends and relatives in case you can’t reach them directly.
  • Charge your phone and keep it charged.
  • Pack your car charger and home charger if you evacuate.
  • Extend your battery by turning off WiFi and other services you aren’t using.
  • Use solar chargers when possible.
  • Learn how to set up your cell phone as a personal Internet hotspot.

Computers

  • Back up critical data onto external hard drives or the cloud
  • If you have to evacuate, take critical equipment with you or seal it in garbage bags and store it in a high spot to protect against water damage.
  • Pack your laptop charger if you evacuate.
  • For businesses, do a test-restore of your backup files to ensure that the backups will work during an emergency and all critical data is backed up.

Generators

  • Use gasoline or propane generators, as communities may turn off natural gas service prior to a disaster.
  • Plan your needs to be sure you can power heating, refrigerators, lights and television for seven days.
  • Store gasoline in safe containers with fuel stabilizer. Replace stored gas every six to 10 months. Generators can use seven to 10 gallons of gasoline per day.
  • Buy a siphon to borrow fuel for your generator from cars and mowers.

Evacuation

  • Have a backpack or overnight bag pre-packed with clothes; energy and meal replacement bars; emergency blankets; sanitation and hygiene items; photocopies of identification and credit cards; special-needs items such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solution and hearing aid batteries; and items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles and pacifiers.
  • Follow instructions to shut off water, gas and electricity before you leave.
  • Know your evacuation routes before you go. Print out directions from your county emergency management website.

Common sense

  • Evacuate if your local government issues an order.
  • Don’t drive through flooded streets.
  • Stay away from downed wires.

Don’t panic

  • Practice your disaster response so everyone knows what to expect.
  • Keep your cool for your own safety and your family’s.

Goodbye Net Neutrality

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Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority fo the citizens of this country support net neutrality, politics has prevailed over the will of the people.  Such is the state of our current political system.

We still live in the greatest democracy that humanity has ever known, but it is flawed.

The House of Representatives has so far, refused to act on the issue.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that the Senate voted to overturn the FCC repeal of net neutrality.  For that overturn to move forward, the House needed to act and they have not.  Should the House choose to act at some future date, then the President would also need to sign off.

At this point, all we can do is bombard the House and White House with plea’s to listen to their continuents and vote to overturn the FCC’s repeal.  For now, we are left to sit back and see if the large broadband Internet providers change the way their networks operate or if costs begin to rise in order to maintain unfettered access to all of the Internet.  Only time will tell.  Hopefully, watchdog groups will keep an eye on this, as there is still a transparency requirments, so providers must disclose if they begin to prioritize traffic.

Keep the pressure up at a grass roots level.  It’s never to late to save net neutrality, but as of today, the prior protections are officially no more.

GDPR Insight from Onepath

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Our awesome marketing team at Onepath put together the following informational piece to help our clients and friends understand GDPR and its potential impact on you and your business.  There are some excellent resources below, which I encourage you to read.

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The GDPR goes into effect tomorrow. Does it apply to you? Are you ready?
Here are five hand-picked articles from around the web that will tell you everything you need to know.


webp.net-resizeimage1a816What is the GDPR?

So what is the GDPR exactly? Here’s an overview that includes the key elements of the far-reaching and complicated European Union legislation.
1path.com

 


Yes, The GDPR Will Affect Yourwebp.net-resizeimage26285
U.S.-Based Business

What about companies that have no business operations in the European Union? Read about the homework they need to do.
Forbes.com

webp.net-resizeimage3294bA Practical Guide to the European Union’s GDPR for American Businesses

American businesses operating or serving customers in the EU need to understand what they need to do to prepare for a new reality.
Recode.net

 


How might GDPR affect your website?blur-blurred-background-communication-908287e097

If companies are affected by this new regulation, they need to continue to research GDPR policies, and create a plan.
1path.com

 


arachnid-close-up-cobweb-27634710b60GDPR in Real Life: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

Why are most organizations still not ready for GDPR? And what are the implications and mechanisms of applying GDPR provisions for companies, individuals, and regulators?
ZDNet.com

 

What’s With All The Privacy Updates?

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Is your Inbox overflowing with messages about updated privacy policies?  From the manufacturer of your computer to the publishers of all the software, apps and websites you use, you are probably receiving an undrecedented amount of privacy updates.

While you probably reflexively delete most of these messages, you may want to play closer attention to them.  Some are informing you that unless you take specific action, you will no longer receive the email messages that you have subscribed to.

So why is this happening now?  GDPR, that’s why.  The General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union goes in to effect in three short days on Friday, May 25, 2018.  This new legislation mandates more transparency when it comes to data privacy and requires that individuals be made aware of what personal data a given company has about them.

Because of this sweeping new legislation, companies are scrambling to let people know that they need to authorize them to retain the private data they hold about you.  They also need you to reconfirm that you give them permission to email you.

Now you know.  These messages are to ensure compliance with the new law.  Even tough this is a law of the EU, it applies to companies outside the EU, so give these messages a quick review before you delete them, just to be sure you want the company who sent it to you, to have personal information about you in their databases.

Here are a couple of examples I’ve received in the last 24 hours, along with links to other blog posts about GDPR:

GDPR and What it Means for U.S. Companies

GDPR Isn’t Just for Europe. What US Companies Need To Know.

It Happens One Month From Today

Yes! We did it! But there’s more to be done.

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Yes!I am thrilled to report that U.S. Senate has voted to overturn the FCC repeal of net neutrality rules.  Thank you to everyone who read my posts and took action to make your voice hear.  While this is a great victory, sadly it only gets us to first base, using a baseball analogy.  To get to second base, the measure will now go to the U.S. House, where it faces more opposition.  Three Republican Senators voted based on the desire of their constituents to protect net neutrality.  Thank you Senators Collins, Murkowski and Kennedy for representing your voters over your party.  It’s sad more Senators did not do the same, but that is the state of hostile politics in our nation today.

Now we need to flood the House, especially the Repulican Representatives, to encourage them to vote in support of the repeal.  Only then will the measure move to the President’s desk for signature.  That’s the rounding of third base we need to ensure net neutrality does not go away on June 11.  That’s the home run we need, so if you have a Republican representative, please contact them, repeatedly, and remind them 86% of American’s support overturning this repeal.  The will of the people is clear and is has nothing to do with any political party.  It has to do with what is right for this country, our citizens and our economy.

Thank you for what you’ve done to date.  Please keep the pressure on!  The voice of the people is able to be heard.  Today’s vote proves it.

Go to www.battleforthenet.com to contact your Representative about the upcoming vote in the House.

The Vote Happens Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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This is absolutely our last chance to tell the Senate to vote to overturn the repeal of net neutrality.  It is critical that this message be sent loudly and clearly as if the Senate votes to overturn, the House and President need to follow.  This has become a partisan issue when it never should have been.  Over 86% of American’s do NOT support the repeal, yet right along party lines, Democrats overwhelmingly agree and Republicans overwhelmingly support the repeal.  Clearly send them all a message to listen to their constituents over their party!

Make your voice heard by clicking here.

Take Action

This May Be Last Chance to Save Net Neutrality

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The following was published in yesterday’s Foster’s and Seacoast Sunday.

On May 3, I had the honor of testifying before a U.S. Senate field hearing about net neutrality. The hearing was held by Senator Jeanne Shaheen as a member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

Facebook_profile2It was an official hearing with six witnesses, including Portsmouth City Councilor Nancy Pearson, director of the Center for Women and Enterprise in Nashua, Portsmouth City Councilor Joshua Cyr, director of Education and Acceleration at Alpha Loft in Portsmouth, Robert Zakon, co-founder and chief technology officer of the Zakon Group in North Conway, Zach Luse, founder of Paragon Digital Marketing in Keene and Lisa Drake, director of sustainability innovation at Stonyfield Farm in Londonderry.

The hearing, “Net Neutrality: Impacts on New Hampshire Small Businesses,” was held at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. The hearing was kicked off by Stan Waddell, UNH’s chief information officer. He talked about the importance of net neutrality to higher education and UNH in particular. Sen. Shaheen read an opening statement and then each witness gave a statement followed by interactive questions and answers between the senator and witnesses.

Unlike the recent hearings surrounding Facebook in Washington, D.C., I was impressed with Sen. Shaheen’s understanding of the issue and its impact on New Hampshire and really, the entire global economy. She was well prepared and well versed on the matter at hand. Her questions were pointed and important, and the ensuing discussion was valuable for all in attendance. The entire hearing will be recorded on the Congressional Record as will each of the written testimonies submitted.

The main reason for the hearing was to gather more data and input on the impact of repealing net neutrality rules put in place several years ago. If you have been following this issue, you know in 2015, the FCC passed rules that prohibit Internet Service Providers from throttling, blocking or charging content companies for faster response on the ISP’s network, what’s commonly referred to as paid prioritization. The FCC repealed those rules and Congress is debating whether to overturn that repeal. The first step toward such action will be a vote in the Senate using something called a Congressional Review Act, which would be a vote to reverse the repeal and reinstate net neutrality protections.

If the Senate passes this measure, it moves to the House, where it would also have to vote to reverse the repeal. From there, it requires the President’s signature. This should not be a partisan issue, but it has become one. It’s become a fight between Democrats and Republicans without regard to the will of the people.

More than 86 percent of Americans support net neutrality and want to see the repeal overturned. People making their voices heard have built the momentum that led to a historic accomplishment earlier this week when the Senate produced enough signatories to force a vote on the Senate floor. That vote is expected to take place this coming week. There is still time to make your voice heard. It does not matter that the New Hampshire and Maine senatorial delegations are in support of this measure. Take the time to contact them and let them know you support their actions. Visit www.battleforthenet.com and follow the easy steps to register your support.

The Senate only needs one more vote to pass and it is expected that it will. From there, the pressure needs to be maintained so the House follows suit. From there, the president needs to be clear it’s the will of the people that net neutrality be forever protected and that this is not a political issue. It’s an issue at the core of freedom of speech, entrepreneurialism and economic competitiveness. Please do your part and make your voice heard. Thank you.