California fires: smart speakers and emergency alerts

Chris J. Ruschmann chris at
Thu Jul 26 17:21:43 UTC 2018

This just seems like another way to build taxes into cloud based products that are otherwise tax free.

I can just see it now, emergency services taxes attached to your Amazon and Google bills.

-----Original Message-----
From: NANOG [ at] On Behalf Of Sean Donelan
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2018 8:12 AM
To: nanog at
Subject: Re: California fires: smart speakers and emergency alerts

After wildfires killed 40+ people in northern California last fall, I asked if Amazon and Google had any plans to include emergency alerts in their smart speaker/intelligent assistant products.  Smart speakers seem like a way to alert people to imminent life-threatening danger during the night when they may be asleep or not aware of it.

Probably not a surprise, the product managers at Amazon and Google didn't see a benefit.  Instead of emergency alerts, instead the product improvement roadmap priority is on package tracking and delivery alerts :-)

Also shouldn't be a surprise. Senator Schatz and Representative Gabbard have introduced bills to study the feasibility of establishing systems and signalling for emergency alerts to Internet audio and video streaming services. Its just a proposed bill for a study, for now.

My opinion is it makes more sense to do emergency alerts at the smart device level (smart speaker, smart tv, smart streaming box) rather than at the content layer (hulu, netflix, spotify). Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana want to keep track of everything else in my life, why not if there is an emergency alert at my current location.

There is a lot of opportunity to come up with better ways to notify people in ways they want, when they want, beyond tracking their package deliveries. And since its at the voluntary stage now, a chance to shape the discussion.
S. 3238
To improve oversight by the Federal Communications Commission of the wireless and broadcast emergency alert systems.


(a) Study.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this 
Act, the Commission shall complete an inquiry to examine the feasibility 
of establishing systems and signaling to offer Emergency Alert System 
alerts to audio and video streaming services delivered over the internet.

(b) Report.—Not later than 90 days after completing the inquiry under 
subsection (a), the Commission shall submit a report on the findings and 
conclusions of the inquiry to—

(1) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; 

(2) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.

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