A new bill, the Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act, may soon bring forth emergency alerts through your favorite streaming platforms. The false missile alert in Hawaii last year shocked government officials, based on the amount of people who didn’t receive the emergency alerts. Now, the READI Act has been reintroduced by Brian Schatz (D-HI) and John Thune (R-SD). This act serves as a way to further emergency preparedness for people using particular streaming platforms.
On a normal day, many of us enjoy streaming music on apps like Spotify and Apple Music. Additionally, most people spend a majority of family time streaming media on platforms such as Netflix. Unfortunately, if there did happen to be an emergency, alerts would not be broadcasted through these platforms. For example, many Hawaiian residents did not receive the alerts because they may have been using Spotify or Netflix.
“Modernizing the emergency alert process is crucial to Americans’ safety and the READI Act is a well-constructed, collaborative approach to solving this critical problem.”Michael Bloom
In particular, much of this concentration focuses on Spotify and Netflix. The proposed act also includes changes to our smartphones. Are you familiar with receiving amber alerts from hundreds of miles away? Luckily, most phones give users the ability to opt-out of such alerts. In terms of more severe alerts (missile threats), the READI Act would prevent users from disabling specific federal alerts.
Currently, the bill has earned bipartisan support in Congress, meaning it will likely pass. At the end of the day, these often annoying alerts may just save your life one day.