If the President wants to send you a text, you'll be required to receive it on your smart phone under a new emergency alert system that the FCC and FEMA are rolling out in NYC and D.C. by the end of the year. Announced today, the new Personal Localized Alerting Network [PLAN] lets customers who own an enabled mobile device "receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area." If you don't want The Man telling you there's an imminent threat to your safety, you can opt out of a second tier of alerts, such as warnings about less catastrophic natural disasters or AMBER Alerts. But the messages from Obama are going to be shoved down your cell phone's throat, just like health care!

"Think about the South a couple of weeks ago," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski tells USA Today. "You could alert a particular local community that the tornado's path has changed: 'It's coming to your community. Evacuate.' Or, 'The tornado is much stronger than previously anticipated. Take action.' It's very important." Genachowski, Mayor Bloomberg, and FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate are announcing the PLAN plan this morning at a Ground Zero press conference.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are participating in PLAN, and some iPhones and Android phones already have the circuitry required to receive PLAN alerts. Messages that come through will have a distinct signal and vibration to make the emergency message stand out. (We're just hoping we can customize it with Die Hard quotes.) The new technology, which will only work with PLAN-enabled phones, ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested user areas, and the messages are " geographically targeted." For example, a D.C. resident visiting Alabama would still have received warnings about the impending tornadoes earlier this month.

"What this allows us to do is have the phone know where it is at that moment, and if a broadcast goes off in that area, it’ll go to all the phones in that area,” Fugate told the Washington Post, which notes that in 2006 the FCC was ordered by Congress to develop PLAN with the wireless companies, but no funding to state and local agencies has been allocated. So it's unclear how quickly this will roll out nationwide, but hey, at least elite smart phone owners in NYC and D.C. will have an edge over the rubes in the next catastrophe. Don't feel guilty, it's all part of the PLAN. [Via Pat's Papers]