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

Some people are unhappy about a test warning that will sound on Sunday at 3 p.m.

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

As part of the British Government's test for its new emergency alert system, a "loud siren sound" will be heard from mobile phones for up to 10 second in Britain on Sunday.

Similar alert systems are used by governments and institutions around the world in situations that could be life-threatening, such as terrorist attacks or dangerous weather. Alerts are often sent via text message or notification to people who are in danger.

Some people in Britain have reacted negatively to the test of this warning service. Officials and organizations are encouraging people not to use it.

What you need to know

On Sunday, at 3 pm, people with smartphones in Britain, including tourists, will be alerted by what the government describes as a loud, siren-like noise accompanied by vibration.

The British government announced the alerts in an official announcement.

The alerts are sent through cellphone towers that broadcast warnings for anyone in danger. The British government stated that they are only intended to be used in "rare cases" and will only use them when "immediate danger to lives" exists.

Around the world, similar warning programs are in use, including the United States of America, Canada, The Netherlands, and Japan. As happened on Thursday in Florida, when a test warning was sent out at 4:45 am.

The alerts will also be sent in Britain in the event of emergencies such as mass shootings or natural disasters like floods, wildfires and tornadoes. Students were sent a text alert when a gunman opened up on the Michigan State University campus in February. Many waited all night for updates from the emergency system.

They have been used in some cases to warn residents not to use city water when the operation of a water facility is disrupted.

The Sunday test of the emergency alert system has already caused some controversy. Some people find the alert annoying, as it can sound for up 10 seconds. Jacob Rees Mogg, MP for North East Somerset told his Twitter followers to "turn off the unnecessary, intrusive alarm."

Others have expressed serious privacy concerns. Refuge, a group that assists women and children who have suffered domestic abuse, advises survivors to turn off their service out of fear that hidden phones in their homes may sound.

In response to this criticism, the British Government said that it had been working with organizations who work with "vulnerable girls and women" to ensure that they were not adversely affected when emergency alerts are introduced. It added that they will be able to opt out of the system if they want their phone to remain hidden.

Some people have expressed concern that alerts may access personal data on their phones, including location data. However, the British government says that this is not a problem because the system uses cellphone towers. The government has said that personal data and precise locations will not be collected or shared.

You can turn off the alerts by searching for "emergency" in your phone's settings and then turning off "severe", "extreme", and "very severe" alerts.

Britons can avoid the test alert by turning their phones off or placing them in airplane mode during the test.

Only phones running the latest software will be able to hear this alert, including iPhones and Android devices running Android 11 and later.