Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Emergency Broadcast Overhaul

US citizens are increasingly turning to the internet and cell phones instead of the TV for their main source for entertainment and information. The national emergency broadcast system should evolve to include the internet and cell phones as mediums for emergency communication. There are two easy plans that the emergency broadcast system could implement. First, internet service providers in the United States could implement a simple switch during an emergency that routes any webpage traffic to a specific information page. For example, during an emergency, when a person tries to go to www.google.com or www.whitehouse.gov , the person would instead see an emergency information page. Second, we could take a page out of China's book and send text messages containing emergency information to all cell phone users within the United States. Improving the way we reach out to our citizens in an emergency is an important step that should be considered.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Brent O'Connor said...

The cell phone idea sounds like the most viable solution. I'm not sure I like the idea of having all your network traffic routed to some emergency broadcast page. I mean once you've seen the message how are you going go and read Dilbert or whatever. Even more importantly maybe it's an emergency where you need to get related information from another source?

I think working out a system with web portal type sites like Google, Yahoo, CNN and any news site would be a better solution. The Government could make a web service that any website could use so they could check if there is an emergency and if there is one display the alert in the header of the website.

10:05 AM  
Blogger gapid said...

Well, the ISPs could cache which IPs they've displayed the emergency message to and then no longer redirect traffic after a given amount of time or until the user clicks on some button. Having only major news outlets display the emergency isn't as viable because not everyone visits them, it's difficult to tailor for local emergencies, and when people do visit the outlets, they're only on there for a brief amount of time before moving on. Having ISPs handle this at the source would solve all of those problems.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Brent O'Connor said...

I think if Google displayed a bix hudge box on the top of their page that said emergency, I think people would notice! :)

Plus, if you offer it as a web service then any web page could use it.

12:02 PM  

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