New Legislation Suggests Implementing Emergency Alerts Into Streaming Services Like Netflix and Spotify

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Currently, when users in a certain area face potentially bad weather, threats of danger, or a nearby AMBER alert, their iPhone or other smartphone sounds off and displays a message explaining the emergency.

    In new legislation shared today, United States senators Brian Schatz and John Thune hope to "explore" ways this system could improve to enhance reliability, including implementing these alerts into audio and video online streaming services (via TechCrunch)


    According to the Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act, more people would be successfully alerted to and aware of potential emergencies if these alerts played on services like Netflix and Spotify. In these situations, the legislation argues, users might have left their smartphone behind in another part of the house while streaming on a TV or computer, missing an alert in the process.

    Senator Schatz explained that the mishap with the false missile alert in Hawaii earlier this year "exposed real flaws in the way people receive emergency alerts," inspiring change and the new legislation.
    Other aspects of the READI Act also propose eliminating the option for users to opt out of receiving "certain" federal alerts, like missile alerts, on smartphones. For iPhone, users can toggle off AMBER Alerts and Emergency Alerts completely under the "Government Alerts" section in Notifications settings.


    Otherwise, the legislation would encourage State Emergency Communications Committees to "periodically review and update" their own alert system plans to keep them more up-to-date, as well as compel FEMA "to create best practices" for state, tribal, and local governments for issuing alerts, avoiding false alerts, and retracting false alerts if they happen. This false alert system would also see a reporting system implemented under the READI Act so the FCC can track when they occur and "examine their causes."

    Article Link: New Legislation Suggests Implementing Emergency Alerts Into Streaming Services Like Netflix and Spotify
  2. KPandian1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2013
    Why? HBO and other premium channels are not interrupted by these weather and amber alerts. FCC wants to dip their hand in, again.
  3. FelixDerKater Contributor


    Apr 12, 2002
    Nirgendwo in Amerika
    Why not just direct over-the-air to the devices themselves?
  4. Saipher macrumors demi-god


    Oct 25, 2014
    Please don't eliminate this option.
  5. oldhifi macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2013
  6. Dave-Z macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    So the government doesn't want to regulate the internet (i.e. net neutrality) but it still wants to force independent companies to be regulated to deliver its messages? Can't have it both ways.

    Don't get me wrong, I think this is a generally good idea... if the government wants to pay these companies for the changes in their infrastructure to set it all up.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 19, 2018 ---
    Actually, it occurs to me that this would be even better if TV manufacturers incorporated this as part of OTA reception. Then it could show up regardless of what the viewer was doing.
  7. spazzcat macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2007
    Not sure that is true, I think your cable company can send an alert if needed no matter which channel you are watching.
  8. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    We don't need another way for the government to interrupt our lives. We already have tons of connected devices capable of receiving Emergency Alerts. We don't need the alerts to be inserted into specific apps. I hope Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Google, and all the other streaming service providers lobby hard against this legislation.
  9. al256 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2001
    Nuclear war and missile launches? Sure, let me know. But weather alerts haven't saved me from anything. Amber alerts were too numerous and nowhere near me. So I just didn't feel bad turning those off.
  10. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
  11. Mr. Donahue macrumors 6502

    Mr. Donahue

    Sep 17, 2014
    **** this ********! Government and self appointed self regulated FCC needs to back off.
  12. Rudy69 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2009
  13. KPandian1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2013
    September 11, 2001 - not a single blip on the telecast of "Pay it Forward" on a premium channel - HBO.
  14. Glavin macrumors newbie


    May 7, 2014
    I would appreciate and find it handy if the government could arrange for an agent to enter my abode without impedance, approach me in my bed or bath, grab me by the lapels, and deliver at close range and high decibels whatever daily message they deem important for my safety.
  15. Defthand macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    Has the federal government run out of issues to fix? Do they really need to invent things to do?

    What if I’m not watching tv when an event happens?
  16. fairuz, Jul 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018

    fairuz macrumors 65816


    Aug 27, 2017
    San Francisco, USA
    I thought the gov't alerts were a good idea until I started getting them for pointless reasons like "its 85˚F outside," which I got in SF once. Making a squealing alarm go off on my phone even while silenced is stupid and dangerous (could freak someone out while driving) unless it's something like incoming nuclear missiles. Except Hawaii has also shown that fake missile alerts can happen quite easily.

    Seems the issue boils down to dumb people having unilateral control over the most powerful notification system ever.
  17. VictorWI macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2011
    Only if I get a target ad with the notification so I get some benefit out of it. :rolleyes:

    This MISSLE alert was brought to you by...
  18. miniyou64 macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2008
    The government doesn’t pay, they steal money via taxes and redistribute it to unworthy causes.
  19. cmwade77 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2008
    Wait a second, there is proposed legislation that has actually been well thought out? Is this the twilight zone?

    This legislation seems to address several key issues:
    • Most people no longer watch live TV or listen to the radio, which in the past have been the ways that emergency alerts get pushed out. We have replaced these with streaming services or at least DVR.
      • Now in an ideal world, it would be great to push this out to the individual devices instead of relying on the services, but in reality many devices that are currently available would not have the ability to receive such a signal, so relying on the services actually makes more sense.
    • This eliminates the ability to opt out of these very important alerts and yes, the Amber alerts are important and can literally save lives, as can the other emergency alerts.
    • This also establishes a program to reduce the number of false alerts and hopefully eliminate them all together, which would include things like the person talking about an alert that it was going to be 85 degree outside, that would be a false alert.
  20. litmag01 macrumors regular


    Jul 16, 2009
    Wonder how much these alerts would help. For example, if it can be shown the addition of governmental alerts on cell phones have increased say Amber Alert child recovery rates by say 8% (for example) and a similar uptick could be demonstrated via the addition of streaming services, then yes, it probably be considered very worthwhile. I'd pay for any thing that helped like that.
  21. cmwade77 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2008
    That is the point, this would also happen with streaming services and to your cell phone, which would greatly reduce the chances that you didn't see the alert.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 19, 2018 ---
    From what I understand from local authorities Amber Alerts on cell phones have increased recovery rates by something like 40%, my guess is that these wouldn't see as much of an increase, but I would think another 20% would be a reasonable expectation.
  22. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    An example from nearly 17 years ago really isn't the evidence you seem to think it is. :p:D I don't know if every provider interrupts but Charter does. They also have fairly regular tests of the EAS. No channel is exempt. It overrides the signal regardless.
  23. GeneralChang macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2013
    As long as they don't have to do weekly tests of the system like they did during my Saturday morning cartoons growing up, we're good. :D
  24. fairuz macrumors 65816


    Aug 27, 2017
    San Francisco, USA
    They propose throwing another committee at the issue. I have no faith that they'll address it. They can't just reduce the number of false alerts, they have to make it zero. Every false alert destroys the credibility of future alerts. They also have to secure the alert system so hackers can't exploit it.
  25. 78Bandit macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2009
    Key word is "can". They are not required to and typically do not. This legislation would require streaming services to interrupt programming for alerts and not give consumers a way to opt out.

    Personally I turn my alerts off. Waaayyyyy too many irrelevant alerts, mainly for bad weather that may be miles away, that made the service worse than nothing at all. Until they can get their **** straight and use it only for imminent mass casualty events like an incoming nuclear missile or a nerve gas attack in my area then I'll continue to keep it disabled.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 19, 2018 ---
    I strongly disagree with making Amber alerts unable to opt out. I don't have a problem with them texting me unobtrusively with non-emergency messages like that, but the last thing I need is to have my phone blaring its emergency siren right in the middle of a meeting just for an alert that I can do nothing about at that particular time. If it doesn't affect EVERYBODY and require an IMMEDIATE response for personal safety then it shouldn't be sent out on the alert system.

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