It was only Saturday when a false alert went out to cell phones across Hawaii warning that a ballistic missile was heading for the state – and more than that, it was “NOT A DRILL.” Officials later said that the employee who sent the alert would be reassigned, not fired, and, indeed, images of the warning system’s user interface make you wonder how all of this doesn’t happen more often.
The images of the UI, released by the governor’s office on Monday night, reveal a system that is less a thought out interface of clear, ranked options, and more just a stack of hyperlinks.
Here’s more from Civil Beat:
State officials said a worker triggered the false alarm by clicking a mouse on the wrong item on a computer screen while performing a routine internal test of the system.
The worker also reportedly clicked on second warning prompt that asked if he really wanted to carry out the action. The worker has been reassigned.
And also, uh, this:
[An evaluation conducted by a National Guard brigadier general] also will seek to answer the particularly troubling question of why some mobile phones received no alert, Ige said.
And there’s also, uh, this:
So, to recap: A human employee fucked up, in part probably because of an interface which looks like a website I set up on Geocities in 1998; some people in the state did not even have the chance to be terrified by this fuck-up, because their phones never got the alert; as of some time last year, some computers at Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency had the password security of your average AOL email user; and a disingenuous right-wing content mill decided to post this password anyway, because, well, who knows.
When things get dark, I remind myself that the world is run by D-plus students.