California fires: smart speakers and emergency alerts

Sean Donelan sean at
Mon Oct 16 15:32:44 CST 2017

On Sun, 15 Oct 2017, Peter Beckman wrote:
> It is theoretically simple to:
> 	1. Turn the address of your Smart Speaker into coordinates
>    2. Receive ALL alerts and only act upon those that apply to your
>       location
> This way it isn't creepy, because the emergency alert wasn't targeted to
> you, but your device was aware enough to determine that you are in the
> warned area.

A very solid, technical response. Unfortunately, most people don't react 
that way.  The top questions from the public about Wireless Emergency 
Alerts is

How did FEMA get my phone number to send me WEA alerts?

The technical response is WEA doesn't use phone numbers, its a cell 
broadcast to all phones in the area. Its not your individual phone. 
Non-technical people hear blah-blah-technical-nonense; and still think 
WEA is someone texting their phone, which means FEMA must know their 
phone number.

A smart speaker suddenly announcing "There is a tornado warning in this 
area, would you like to hear more?" will probably freak-out those same 
non-technical people.

More information about the NANOG mailing list