Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai on Sunday said the false ballistic missile alert that was sent to Hawaii residents on Saturday was “absolutely unacceptable,” and that the incident was under investigation. “It caused a wave of panic across the state—worsened by the 38-minute delay before a correction alert was issued,” Pai said in a statement. “Moreover, false alerts undermine public confidence in the alerting system and thus reduce their effectiveness during real emergencies.” Pai added that Hawaii’s government “did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert.” Just after 8:00 a.m. local time on Saturday, Hawaiians received an alert notifying them of an incoming ballistic missile, noting that it was “not a drill.” Officials scrambled to issue a correction and inform residents that the alert was actually sent in error.
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