At 3.00pm on Sunday, smartphones across the UK will chime in unison for a controversial emergency test. This is a new tool that will be used to report extreme emergencies.
From 3pm, all mobile phones in Britain will ring and vibrate for 10 seconds, even if they are on silent. A message will explain that this is a test and that nothing needs to be done. The system will serve to warn the population in case of serious emergencies, such as toxic clouds or floods.
United Kingdom: the emergency test that will make smartphones ring causes discussion
The test has already sparked a lot of controversy in the UK. Some motorists worry that the sudden sound will distract them or cause them to panic. Also because the sound will be very similar to that of police sirens.
The British Automobile Club has pointed out that “Sunday drivers” could be even more at risk and that those unaware of the test could panic. The elderly are also concerned, certainly less accustomed to the use of digital devices, who could react dangerously to the alarm notification.
The test is also controversial for another aspect: those who have a hidden phone. It is not uncommon for domestic abuse victims to have a second smartphone, which would then be discovered due to the sound. Meanwhile the Daily Mail, a conservative British tabloid, described the experiment as “Orwellian”.