LONDON – A “loud siren-like sound” will go off from mobile phones for up to 10 seconds across Britain on Sunday as part of a test of a new emergency alert system launched by the UK government.
Governments and agencies around the world use similar alert systems in life-threatening situations such as terrorist attacks and hazardous weather. Alerts, often sent as notifications or text messages, warn people on dangerous roads to evacuate or get to safety.
In the UK, testing an alert service has sparked a backlash, with some officials and organizations urging people to turn off the service.
Here’s what you should know:
People with smartphones across the UK, including visiting tourists, will receive an alert at 3pm on Sunday, described by the government as a “loud siren-like sound” accompanied by a vibration.
In a statement about the alert, the UK government said, “It will appear on your device’s home screen and must be reviewed before you can use any other features.
Alerts are sent via cell phone towers that broadcast warnings to those in danger. The UK government said the alert was intended to be used “very infrequently”, adding that it would only be used when there was “imminent danger to people’s lives”.
Anyone else using a similar alert system?
Similar warning programs are used around the world, including the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and Japan.
They haven’t always been well received, as was the case last Thursday when a test alert was sent out at 4:45 am in Florida.
Similar to how it is used in the UK, alerts are sent during emergencies such as mass shootings, floods, wildfires, tornadoes and other natural disasters.
When Gunman opened fire on Michigan State University campus In February, students were notified of the situation by text message, and many waited overnight for emergency system updates.
In some cases, it is also used to warn residents not to use city water when water utility operations are interrupted.
Some in the UK are unhappy with the warning
A test of a new emergency alert service on Sunday has already caused a backlash. Some people find alerts that can go off for up to 10 seconds annoying. The Northeast’s Somerset MP Jacob Lee Smogg told his followers on Twitter to “turn off unnecessary and intrusive alerts.”
“It’s back to nanny status. Instead, it’s warning, telling, and indulging that people should be allowed to go on with their lives,” he said.
For others, the alert raised serious privacy concerns. and advises survivors of abuse to turn off the service.
In response to such criticism, the UK government said it was working with organizations working to ensure “vulnerable women and girls are not adversely affected by the introduction of emergency alerts” and said it would It will be possible to opt-out by keeping their phone hidden, he added.
Some are concerned that Alert may access personal information such as phone location data, but the UK government says the Alert system works via cell phone towers so there is no need to worry. said.
According to the government, personal data and precise location information are not collected or shared.
How can I avoid alerts?
You can turn off alerts by searching for “emergency alerts” in your phone’s settings and turning off “critical” and “extreme” alerts.
Britons can also avoid receiving test alerts on Sundays by turning their phones off or in airplane mode during the test.
Alerts will only sound on smartphones with the latest software available, such as iPhones running iOS 14.5 and above and Android smartphones and tablets running Android 11 and above. NYTIMES
https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/phones-across-britain-will-blast-a-loud-siren-like-alert-on-sunday Phones across UK to sound ‘loud siren-like’ alert on Sunday