If you've ever gotten a blaring alert to your phone, looked up, and seen that everyone else in the room is trying desperately to silence their own device as well, you've had experience with the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act, passed by Congress in 2006.

Stephen Colbert has some rather uncomfortable information about it.

These Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) have so far only been used to send Amber Alerts or warn of some other impending emergency. But there's one more function for them. The WARN Act allows the president to issue WEAs, too.


And while you can turn off Amber Alerts, you can't with these.

"Participating carriers may allow subscribers to block all but Presidential alerts," explains New York Magazine.

As Colbert puts it, "The only person I would trust less with that technology is Anthony Weiner."

Obama never sent an alert like this, but he also never tweeted a personalized review of Saturday Night Live.

Watch Colbert's full explanation in the video above, starting around the 4:50 mark.