I'm sure you've heard of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), you know that annoying noise on the radio or TV followed some bad news. It's a nice way to let people know of some serious stuff before it happens, but usually a little too late to make any real prevention against the oncoming weather or what ever. I had an idea one day, what if there was some way to broadcast this information across the internet? Locally, like by state or 200 mile radius or something. I thought this could be an effective way to broadcast bad stuff more quickly since more people have internet tha TV (cable or dish) now [see reference here]. But then I started thinking about the inter workings of the internet, and how it could actually be useless in our current configuration. The government has a service called the 'common alerting protocol', but you must subscribe to it. I was imagining something a little less voluntary like the current EAS is now: you're watching your favorite show and then suddenly you're not. The EASP (emergency alert system protocol) I propose would basically just be a small email client on your operating system with a minimal pop-up message from your system and from there you can chose to read it or not. The backend implementation of this protocol would utilize the technologies found in multicast routing and would use an authentication process of some kind to prevent spam. I feel there would be a resistance to 'involuntary' email messages though. Still I think it could work one day, so here are some pros and cons to this idea.
- quick message dissemination
- redundancy of internet components
- people use internet more than TV
- implementation resistance
- abuse from hackers
- the internet is somewhat fragile
I'm sure there are other disadvantages I'm not thinking of but think this is enough for now. I doubt this will ever be deployed but I think this is how the internet and the computing industry got built: someone had an idea posted it in writing and asked for some comments about how to improve it (reference to RFC's). Let me know that you think in the comments below.