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Mobile warning

Swiss plan terror alert app

The Swiss authorities plan to create a mobile phone app to alert the public in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster.

The Federal Office for Civil Protection and the federal police are considering launching a mobile phone alert system next year, reported Swiss newspapers on Monday.

Such systems already exist in France and in some German states. During an attack in Munich recently, residents with smartphones received a message warning them to avoid certain squares and streets and telling them that public transport had been suspended.

Switzerland introduced an SMS alert system in 2011 to warn of child abductions, but only for mobile phone users who registered for the service. In 2015 the Federal Office for Civil Protection launched an online disaster alert service ALERTSWISS in the national languages German, French and Italian to warn people in the event of earthquakes, floods or nuclear accidents.

The new terror alert app will build on the success of the ALERTSWISS app, which has about 26,000 subscribers.

“The aim is that the cantonal police operational services can inform the public directly about dangerous situations,” the Federal Office for Civil Protection spokesman Kurt Münger told the NZZ newspaper.

The app will be trialled in a number of cantons next year and rolled out nationwide from 2018.

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