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Amber Alerts on mobile can now link to missing child's pic

The FCC also increases the length of Wireless Emergency Alerts to 360 characters for 4G LTE and future cell networks.

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MILWAUKEE - MARCH 27: Quinn Harris, 10-years-old, volunteers his time and hands out flyers with his mother at the intersection of 51st and Hampton near the home of the missing boys, Quadrevion Henning and Purvis Virgina Parker March 27, 2006 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Friends, family and concerned citizens are doing what ever it takes to get the word out about Quadrevion Henning and his friend Purvis Virgina Parker who went missing over a week ago while playing near their homes in Milwaukee. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
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Amber Alerts are about to get more detailed.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday adopted new rules to strengthen the Wireless Emergency Alerts system that delivers critical warnings and information to Americans on their wireless phones. The system sends Amber Alerts for missing children, as well as weather alerts and other emergencies.

Under the new rules, WEA alerts for 4G LTE and future wireless networks can now be 360 characters long, up from 90 characters under the old parameters. The FCC also will require participating wireless providers to support embedded phone numbers and URLs in all alerts, which allows the public to click to see a photo of a missing child or call the police.

The FCC also will make wireless providers deliver alerts to more granular geographic areas so you only get notices relevant to your location. And it also has created a new class of alerts, called Public Safety Messages, to share information that can save lives or property, such as emergency shelter locations or orders to not drink tap water without boiling it first. Wireless providers also have to support Spanish-language alerts.

The WEA system first became available on smartphones in 2012 with severe weather alerts. When receiving an alert, the phone emits a high-pitched noise and flashes a message on the screen, describing what emergency is happening. Because the alert system is on phones, the signals are triangulated so that weather alerts will be localized.