U.S. lawmakers have reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would mandate that major streaming service providers send their users emergency alerts during times of local or national emergencies, Engadget reports. The bill is known as the Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act.
Under READI, streaming services, including Netflix and Spotify, would need to broadcast emergency alerts that are part of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) system. This system covers everything from tactical nuclear strikes against the U.S. to flash flood and earthquake warnings. Announcing the reintroduction of the proposed bill, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said the idea came about as a result of the false missile alert residents of Hawaii received last year:
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 TVs 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.
The bill does make a lot of sense considering radio and television viewership is declining, especially among young people. And since services like Netflix and Spotify run on a myriad array of devices, from smartphones to laptops to smart TVs and even smartwatches, sending alerts through such services seems self-evident if you want to warn as many people as possible about impending doom. Let’s just hope those people won’t ignore those notifications thinking an alert from Netlfix about an incoming nuclear strike is just an annoying notification advertising the company’s latest original drama.