One of the most dangerous issues faced by famous Twitch (and other platform) broadcasters is “Swatting”.
Swatting is when someone calls the Police Department and claims there’s a hostage situation, murder or myriad of other deadly situations unfolding at the address of the streamer. The Police (taking these calls deadly seriously) then gear up their SWAT teams to invade the home as to protect or free the victims of the imaginary crime.
Swatting has gotten many people hurt and in December of 2017 it got Call of Duty streamer Andrew Finch killed. The Wichita Kansas Police Department got a call claiming that Andrew had murdered his father and was holding his mother and brother hostage. When the Police arrived Andrew was shot on his property in the confusion. He died at 28 years old leaving behind two children simply because someone abused the emergency system for fun to get back at him for a disagreement in a Call of Duty match…
Acknowledging this massive issue, the Seattle Police Department has adopted a combination of Smart 911 and Rave Facility so that broadcasters who are concerned that they may be targeted by Swatters can take preemptive action.
SMART 911 provides the opportunity to create a web based profile tailored specifically to the needs of your household. For instance, someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, or who has a medical condition or allergy, could enter this information on a SMART 911 profile page. First responders would have real time access to your specific needs before they even knock on your door.
While incredibly useful, SMART 911 did not meet the criteria for our solution, since profile data is triggered by calling 911 from a registered phone number rather than associated to a registered address.
This is where Rave Facility comes in. Rave Facility is a solution that is designed as a SMART 911 counterpart for commercial properties. For the purpose of registering swatting concerns, it works. Here’s how. A 911 call taker receives a report of a critical incident. While ensuring first responders are dispatched to that call for service as quickly as possible, the call taker will simultaneously check for whether or not swatting concerns have been registered at that address. If swatting concerns have been registered, this information will be shared with responding officers, who will still proceed to the call. If no location profile exists, officers will still continue to the call. Nothing about this solution is designed to minimize or slow emergency services. At the same time, if information is available, it is more useful for responding officers to have it than to not.
We can’t praise the SPD enough for taking a lead to help protect the streaming community. We’ll follow this closely to see how it develops.