Nigel Farage has predicted that future governments could abuse the new phone emergency alert service, set to hit Britons’ phones this weekend, in order to enforce lockdown restrictions or bombard the public with nanny state warnings about the weather. Speaking on his GB News show tonight, Mr Farage said after the Covid lockdowns, he could not trust the government to use the service appropriately.
“What they did to us, repeatedly, with lockdowns, after the sort of hysterical warnings we had when there was a very hot couple of days last summer, I can see this potentially being used by governments again and again and again to send us messages. , to tell us to do things.”
“Of course, it will all be ‘for our own good’ – as government gets bigger – as it always is, until someone misuses it like they missed that power during lockdown.”
He stopped short of detailing to viewers how to disable phones to stop them from receiving the messages.
Andrew Allison, of The Freedom Association, told GB News viewers he “can’t see a practical use for this at all”, as most Brits already receive news and weather alerts via the internet, television or radio.
He added: “It does make me wonder why it is the government has decided that this really is a good idea, because we weren’t really talking about this a few months ago.”
Nigel Farage claimed “it could be enormously useful” for a nanny state government, adding: “Let’s say we have to have another lockdown, they could even use – could they not, given they’ve got our phone numbers now – geolocators to see if we’d gone too far away from our houses.”
The alerts can be localized by the government to electoral wards, meaning residents in specific areas could be exclusively warned about emergencies.
Mr Allison warned when Brits receive the alert at 3pm on Sunday, phones will be “disabled until you do swipe off that message.”
He asked: “Could the government in future block mobile phones for specific people because they think they’re breaking the law in a pandemic situation?”
Mobile phone users are able to block government alerts in their phone’s notification settings.
READ MORE: Motorists warned not to turn off emergency alert while driving
The emergency alert test, set to be sent to every phone in the country at 3pm on Sunday, has led to warnings that drivers could be distracted by the notification, or risk breaking the law to clear the home screen while behind the wheel.
There have also been concerns from women’s rights groups that hidden phones belonging to victims of domestic abuse could be discovered by their partners.
Former Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg branded the plan “unnecessary and intrusive”, confessing he’s already turned the alert system off.
He told his GB News viewers: “I’m afraid to say that I’ve disabled my government warning system because I think it will end up being used in the way the Met Office gives us warning to tell us the blindingly obvious.”
That is to say that the weather is going to be hot and perhaps we should have a glass of water. Or there may be a storm and it may not be wise to go out, or it may be cold and we should wrap up warmly. I don’t think that is why we have telephones.”
“We have them as a service that we want to use that we pay for to communicate with people, not to be shouted at by the government.”