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Lawmakers consider getting Netflix and Hulu to send out federal emergency alerts

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Lawmakers are considering making streaming services like Netflix and Spotify interrupt your song or show to broadcast emergency alerts. The idea is part of a bill that was introduced by senators from Hawaii and South Dakota called the “Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement,” or READI Act, as spotted by TechCrunch.

The idea is that you would be engrossed in a particularly thrilling episode of Jane the Virgin or Black Mirror and potentially miss a call for evacuation sent to your phone. But if Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others get on board with this bill (if it were to make it into law), they could interrupt your content with the crucial information you need to stay safe. Of course, the system would need to be secure from hackers and free of bugs, so that the partnership wouldn’t just lead to more false alarms.

The bill is one of the many measures that lawmakers are looking at after a false missile alert in Hawaii was sent to millions of residents back in January. It took 38 minutes to issue a correction to assure people that a missile was, in fact, not hitting Hawaii, so officials are looking into better training procedures and ways to fix the aged emergency alert system.

The bill also mentions making it impossible to disable country-wide alerts and creating more infrastructure to send out corrections to false alarms.