Streaming services like Netflix, Spotify could soon have emergency alerts

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Netflix, Spotify, Other Streaming Services Could Soon Have Emergency Alerts

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

new bill introduced in the Senate Wednesday, if passed by Congress, would explore establishing a system to offer emergency alerts to audio and video online streaming services, such as Netflix and Spotify.

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Senate Bill 3238, also known as "The READI Act," was introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz D-Hawaii, and is co-sponsored by Sen. John Thune R-S.D.

“The bipartisan legislation would ensure more people receive relevant emergency alerts on their mobile phones, televisions, and radios, explore new ways of alerting the public through online video and audio streaming services, track and study false alerts when they occur, and improve the way states plan for emergency alerts,” a statement released by Schatz’s office said Wednesday.

The Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert System ensure the public is quickly informed about emergency alerts issued by federal, state, tribal and local governments delivered over the radio, television and mobile wireless devices.

Those alerts can include weather information, imminent threats, Amber alerts and local incident information targeted to specific areas, according to the federal government.

The bill would also ensure more people receive emergency alerts by eliminating the option to opt out of receiving certain federal alerts.

The bill is being introduced after a false alarm reporting a missile alert in Hawaii exposed flaws in the system earlier this year, Schatz said.

“Even though it was a false alarm, the missile alert exposed real flaws in the way people receive emergency alerts,” Schatz said. “When a missile alert went out across Hawaii in January, some people never got the message on their phones, while others missed it on their TVs and radios.”

Schatz said the bipartisan bill would fix a number of problems with the system.

“In a real emergency, these alerts can save lives so we have to do everything we can to get it right,” the Hawaii senator said.

Under the new bill, the government would establish a reporting system for false alerts, so the Federal Communications Commission can track when they occur and examine the causes, Schatz said.