Cellphones Across Britain Will Blast a ‘Loud Siren-like’ Alert This Weekend

A “loud siren-like sound” will go off from mobile phones for up to 10 seconds across the UK on Sunday as part of a test of a new emergency alert system initiated 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 among some people, with some officials and organizations encouraging 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. They are intended to be used “very infrequently”, the UK government said in a statement. statementadded that alerts are only used when there is “imminent danger to people’s lives.”

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 when a test alert was sent out at 4:45 am in Florida on Thursday.

Similar to how it is used in the UK, alerts will be sent in emergencies such as mass shootings, floods, wildfires, tornadoes and other natural disasters. When a shooter opened fire on the Michigan State University campus in February, students were informed of the situation by text him, and many students waited overnight for emergency system updates.

In some cases, they are also used to warn residents not to use city water when water utility operations are interrupted.

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. Jacob Rees Mogg, Member of Parliament for North East Somerset, told his followers: twitter “Turn off unnecessary and intrusive alerts”.

For others, the alert raised serious privacy concerns. evacuationAn organization that helps women and children who have suffered domestic abuse advises survivors of abuse to turn off services.

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 will work 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.

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.

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