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Automated Emergency Notification System Goes Wild

Creighton University's emergency system calls random people across the country

1 min read
Automated Emergency Notification System Goes Wild

Early Saturday morning, there was a report of a possible shooting at 33rd and Burt Streets, just west of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. As a result, the CU's emergency notification system, CUAlert system, sent out voice, email, and text messages concerning the incident about 0400 CDT, a story in the Omaha-World Herald reported yesterday.

However, the automated telephone alert message not only reached those who are on the CUAlert notification list, but also random people across the US, who were puzzled and a bit annoyed at being called so early in the morning.

Then, at 0500 CDT, the CUAlert system sent out a follow-on message to the same people saying the police had the situation in hand.

CU's public safety office was soon flooded with calls wanting to know what was going on. No estimate has been given as to how many people were erroneously called.

University officials are perplexed as to what happened. A CU spokesperson summed it up this way:

"Technology isn't perfect."

The Omaha-World Herald reports that CU uses an outside vendor for its alert system, but the university declined to disclose who it is.

The CU spokesperson also apologized for "any inconvenience."

The Conversation (0)

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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