As of last week, 300 ATMs in the Netherlands manufactured by In2Retail began displaying alerts about missing children. The ATMs are currently mainly located in airports, shopping malls, and in close proximity to tourist attractions. If the idea proves successful, authorities may expand the system to other ATM vendors with the aim of eventually covering the whole country. The Netherlands is the first country to use its ATMs to display such warnings.
Compatible ATMs are capable of displaying two different kinds of alerts: the Dutch-specific Vermist Kind Alert and Amber Alerts. Both alerts are about missing children, but an Amber Alert is used when their life is believed to be in immediate danger. When this more serious alert is used, it will also cause SMS messages to be sent, Facebook notifications to be issued, and radio and news broadcasts to be interrupted. According to AmberAlert.eu, in 2018, there were 26 alerts issued across Europe about 30 missing children. Of those, 97 percent of children were successfully recovered.
Along with the alerts, which will display a child’s photo and information about their potential whereabouts, the ATMs will also show a campaign video to encourage people to sign up to receive future alerts on their phones. AmberAlert.eu says that any links to public information are deleted once a child has been found.
ATMs are the latest location to display Amber Alerts, which are already shown on advertising screens, highway signs, billboards, and websites across Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. Major apps such as Waze and Google Maps have also had the functionality integrated into their software.