John Thune, a republican from South Dakota and US senators Brian Schatz, democrat from Hawaii has reintroduced the READI Bill in the Senate. This would pave for more reliable and faster emergency alert services. The bill introduced aiming at employing the most popular video and music streaming services like Netflix and Spotify to carry this crucial task out.
The READI stands for ‘Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement’. As the name of this Act suggest, the enactment would make sure that in real-time the receivers should get the reliable and real alerts.
Initially this bill was already introduces last year and it followed the much-buzzed and infamous missile alert in Hawaii. That alert was later proven as the false one and it stood as a primary cause of misleading people who received the message that was transmitted. Receivers were shivered down with the message.
In disguise, we should note that its a blessing to get that false missile alert as the lawmakers wish to call it. At that time most of the people neither heard any emergency warning through Radio/TV nor received the text message through alert. There are a few people who received those messages on their phones.
“When a missile alert went out across Hawai’i last year, some people never got the message on their phones, while others missed it on their T.V.s and radios. Even though it was a false alarm, the missile alert exposed real flaws in the way people receive emergency alerts. Our bill fixes a number of important problems with the system responsible for delivering emergency alerts. In a real emergency, these alerts can save lives so we have to do everything we can to get it right”, Brian Schatz, a senator from Hawaii noted.
The incident might seem careless but it exposed many shortcomings of the present system of generating, transmitting, and receiving alerts in times of crisis. Thus the reintroduction of bill serves the right purpose but through a non-conventional approach.
This act is not just for the Netflix and Spotify, but would also makes sure the transmission of genuine and relevant emergency alerts; it could be a natural calamity or missile attack that shall reach people through Radio and TV too.
The act might also obstruct the people from choosing out of the alert services. When you are about to choose the other notifications, the emergency alerts would be shown at a bracket higher that other alerts or notifications and they would be seen as ones at a priority level.
Present wireless emergency alert system has less coverage and was not even broad in nature. The latest system resulting after this act would be an improvement of the current system acting as a lifeguard in the critical situations.
As of now, the alerts appeared only for once on TV and Radio stations. But the act that is going to come into effect would repeat the important alerts and releases. Repeating important alerts would make sure that the messages will not go unnoticed. At least casualties would be reduced to a great extent due to this factor.
Michael Bloom, the vice president of federal government affairs for the Internet Association, spoke on the subject of the bill, “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.”