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New York tests public alert system on Xbox Live

Online services to warn of terrorist, nuclear and natural catastrophes

New York state officials are to use Xbox Live to transmit public alerts of terrorist attacks, natural disasters and nuclear catastrophe.

According to website InformationWeek the New York state Emergency Management Office plans to issue alerts over gaming networks as well as television, radio and the Web.

New York state deputy chief information officer Rico Singleton said that the decision had been made, "considering the amount of time our youth spend on video games."

No further details were released, although Singleton indicated that the technology necessary was already being tested. Although only Xbox Live was mentioned by name it is assumed that the same messages would be made available on the PlayStation Network and the Wii's online noticeboard.

The initiative is part of the state's Empire 2.0 program, which will also see mental health officials monitor Facebook for signs of suicidal behaviour and the Office of Homeland Security use Second Life to train 700,000 staff.

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