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.
If the endgame here is to regulate away bureaucratic inefficiency, that mission is doomed from the start. The real problem with the Hawaii situation wasn't not having adequate platforms with which to disseminate information. Twitter was abuzz with the situation almost immediately. The state surely could have gotten out an "Oops" tweet in less than 38 minutes. If they couldn't handle something that simple, the ability to interrupt streaming broadcasts probably isn't going to make them sharper.