MDSS (iNWS) Terms of Use

  1. Acceptance of Terms

    Please read these Terms carefully. The National Weather Service (NWS) provision of the Mobile Decision Support Services interactive NWS (MDSS (iNWS) SMS text and email is service subject to the following Terms of Use ("Terms"). You must accept and agree to these Terms in order to access or use the MDSS (iNWS) system. If you do not agree to the Terms, you may not use MDSS (iNWS) service.


    MDSS (iNWS) is offered as an enhancement to the services of the National Weather Service, and may be terminated or suspended at any time, with or without advance notice, by any NWS office offering this service.

    You can accept these Terms by filling out the online Registration Request form http://inws.wrh.noaa.gov/user/register. You also accept the Terms whenever you actually use the MDSS (iNWS) service. The NWS will treat your use of MDSS (iNWS) as acceptance of the Terms of Use.


    By enabling SMS (text message) alerting for your MDSS (iNWS) account, you agree to the following terms:


    I confirm that I hold the account corresponding to the mobile phone number I have entered, or that I have the account holder's permission to use this service, and that I am at least 18 years of age. iNWS works with these carriers: AWCC, AT&T, AWCC, Boost, Centennial Cellular, Cincinnati Bell, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, Unicel, U.S. Cellular, Virgin Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless but is not compatible with all handsets. Subscription enables you to receive alerts when the NWS issues a warning impacting one of your iNWS Alert Areas. You will receive 25 messages per month on average, but actual message rates are weather dependent. Message and Data Rates May Apply. For help, text HELP to 56149. To cancel, text STOP to 56149 at anytime. For customer support, visit http://inws.wrh.noaa.gov or call 1-888-285-0650.


  2. Description of MDSS (iNWS) Service

    MDSS (iNWS) is a user driven, real-time alerting service designed to bring critical weather data and automatic alerts (such as NWS warnings, watches and advisories) directly to cell phones and other mobile devices, expanding the NWS warning dissemination program. MDSS (iNWS) alerts are embedded with a short hyper link within the SMS or email body to provide the ability to combine text and graphic content into a shortened and more effective message. All products available on the MDSS (iNWS) server are part of one of ten user categories (Severe Weather, Winter Weather, Hydrology, Fire Weather, Marine Weather, Coastal Hazards, Tropical Weather, Aviation, Non-Precipitation and Civil Emergency). The MDSS (iNWS) server can accommodate both polygon based products and county/zone based products.


    MDSS (iNWS) is an enhancement to the current communications paths between the NWS and its core partners, and one that provides an additional level of communication redundancy during weather related, civil and other emergency events. MDSS (iNWS) is not intended to replace other official NWS products or official means of communications. The target audience for this service is the NWS and partners in all levels of government, emergency managers, and members of electronic media.


  3. Registration Obligations

    In order to participate in MDSS (iNWS), users must satisfy at least one of the following criteria:


    1. Be a member of the emergency management community

      Defined as encompassing public safety officials who serve as employees or contract agents of a government agency at any level (federal, state, local, tribal, etc.) charged with protecting the public from hazards of whatever type that are influenced by weather conditions. Other members of this community include: safety and emergency personnel from universities and other entities with large populations, whose roles are functionally equivalent to the public safety officials described above, and Skywarn Net Control Operators such as Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES)/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES).


    2. Be a government partner of a NWS office

      Defined as encompassing specific government partners that are necessary participants in MDSS (iNWS) for specific NWS offices having missions that require close coordination with these partners, e.g. FAA officials (for NWS Center Weather Service Units) and water management officials (for NWS River Forecast Centers).


    3. Be a member of the electronic media

      Defined as members of the electronic media and their contract agents who:

      • Have a need to actively participate in discussions with NWS Forecast Offices on imminent weather or other hazards, and
      • Operate systems that routinely and rapidly relay weather and water watches, advisories, warnings and forecast information to a significant part of the population served by an NWS office; via electronic information distribution such as radio, television, internet, cellular, and other wireless means

    Note: Individuals, companies, or other entities involved in 'chasing' weather events and posting or streaming video or pictures of the event, but which do not otherwise have a need to communicate with NWS do not meet the qualifications for this Service.


    In order to obtain an account for MDSS (iNWS) services you will be required to provide information about yourself in the registration form. You agree that the information provided to the NWS will be true, complete, accurate, and current. You agree to maintain and promptly update the registration data whenever changes occur so that it is true, complete, accurate and current. You agree that you are of legal age and capacity enter into a binding contract. You agree that you are not a person barred from receiving services under the laws of the United States.


  4. Account Security and Passwords

    Each user must have an individual account. Upon approval of the registration form and acceptance for use of MDSS (iNWS), you will receive an email confirming your registration and other account identifying information. You agree that you are responsible for any activity that occurs under your account or user name. You agree that you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any and all passwords used for access to MDSS (iNWS). You agree that your password is for your use only and that you may not give your password to any other person or cause the password to be distributed to other person(s).


    You agree to change your account password according to the NWS IT policy which states password requirements and expiration time (summarized here). The IT policy may change with time; changes will be posted on the MDSS (iNWS) webpage as needed. The system will send you reminder notices prior to the expiration of your password. If your password expires, you will not have access to the system until you re-set the password (on-line).


  5. MDSS (iNWS) content and user conduct

    The following activities are prohibited:


    1. Use of the service for personal gain.
    2. Disrupt, or engage in any activity which interrupts the Service.
    3. Modification of MDSS (iNWS) service messages.
    4. Generation of counterfeit MDSS (iNWS) messages.
    5. Distribution of messages falsely identified as originated from MDSS (iNWS).
    6. Any other violation of these Terms of Service

  6. Privacy Policy

    Registration information about you is subject to our Privacy Policy available at http://www.weather.gov/privacy.php. You understand that the nature of cellular communication is not secure.


  7. Termination of Service

    You may request to terminate your account at any time. You agree that your organization may request to terminate your account, with or without your knowledge or consent. You agree to inform NWS when you no longer meet participant criteria (for example, leave your job). You agree that the NWS may terminate your account for breaches or violations of the Terms of Service at the sole discretion of NWS. MDSS (iNWS) is offered as an enhancement to the services of the National Weather Service, and may be terminated or suspended at any time, with or without advance notice, by the NWS.


  8. Service Availability

    MDSS (iNWS) is designed to operate 24 hours per day; however there will be times when the service may be temporarily suspended such as during software or hardware upgrades, fixes or maintenance, or unexpected technical or security issues. Every effort will be made to eliminate unplanned outages, and those that occur will be addressed as quickly as possible.


    There may also be times when network congestion or wireless carrier outages, beyond the control of the NWS, prevent MDSS (iNWS) messages from reaching users or causes a significant delay in the receipt of messages.


    NWS personnel may not immediately respond to MDSS (iNWS) user subscription requests or other inquiries if they are addressing other critical warning or forecast tasks or experiencing technical issues.


  9. Account Registration Information

    Access to the MDSS (iNWS) system requires a valid account on the server. All users will have individual accounts. A valid user account will consist of the following information to be provided for registration:


    1. First and Last Name
    2. Organization
    3. Job Title
    4. City and State
    5. Valid email address

  10. Changes to the Terms

    NWS may make changes to these Terms without prior notification in order to provide clarification or address policy changes. When changes to the Terms are made, NWS will post them and make them available on the MDSS (iNWS) website.


    You understand and agree that if you use the Service after the changed Terms are posted, the NWS will treat your continued use as acceptance of the updated Terms.

iNWS is an experimental service intended for NWS core partners, including emergency managers, community leaders and other government agencies only. You are encouraged to complete a short survey on iNWS. See the iNWS Service Description Document for more information.