Access to the internet is now considered a public necessity, similar to water and electricity. People lacking affordable and reliable internet access are at a disadvantage in navigating today’s world, especially in these times of social isolation.
The telecom industry is intent on “bridging the digital divide” to end this inequity. Sounds good at first blush, but unfortunately, the lowest cost internet option – one that is neither safe, environmentally friendly, nor respectful of privacy – is the one being offered. Will this fix the problem or are we rather substituting one disadvantage for another?
Not All Technology Is Created Equal
Internet can be accessed through wired connections such as fiber optics or coaxial cable, or wirelessly via cell towers, 4G/5G antennas and wireless “hot spots” next to homes, and/or via satellites. Wired connections are safer, faster, more cyber secure, energy efficient and reliable than wireless connections. Wireless, however, has one advantage over wired – mobility. You can access the internet wirelessly when out and about, something that cannot be done with a wired connection.
In its haste to “bridge the digital divide” the telecom industry is peddling 4G/5G antennas and wireless hot spots to under-served communities. Most people are unaware there are better ways to connect to the internet from one’s home or business and are oblivious to the harms and risks of these close proximity wireless antennas and hot spots. Thrilled to get online at all, these communities willingly accept telecoms offerings.
The industry is most pleased as their 4G soon to be 5G-wonder child, and its attendant and lucrative promises of data-harvesting, artificial intelligence, surveillance capitalism, “software as a service” all gain another captured market. And an added perk is that industry appears to be fixing a gross injustice. Seemingly, a win/win for all.
So, What Could Be the Problem?
Like many of us, these communities are unaware of the thousands of studies showing both long and short-term health effects from existing 2G, 3G, and 4G technologies, and the dozens of studies showing harm specifically from the millimeter wave frequencies to be used in 5G and the modulations carried along these frequencies. Not to mention the, as yet unstudied other virtuoso technological feats that will likely find their way into the 5G build out.
Similar to the playbook used by tobacco, asbestos, Teflon, and other toxins, the telecom industry has neglected to disclose risks from 5G. Instead, it unabashedly asserts 5G’s safety while providing not a single study to substantiate this claim that runs counter to the consensus of science on wireless health effects.
Internet access may indeed be a public necessity but so is our health. The challenge before us is not simply how to bridge the digital divide, but how to bridge it while preserving our health and that of all other living beings — not to mention our personal privacy, sovereignty and dignity.
Need for Digital Literacy is a Public Necessity
It follows that if internet is a public necessity, an understanding of the pros and cons of different ways of connecting to the internet, aka digital literacy, would also be essential. For without this understanding, people cannot defend their rights, and risk becoming victims of an inequitable system. Without digital literacy, we are seemingly locked into a binary choice: “Do we want 5G or no internet access?” when in truth, there is another option – safe wired internet.
Industry has a moral obligation to not only disclose the risks and benefits of the technologies the public is being offered and exposed to, but to advise people on the safest technology option for any given situation.
Governments have a duty to educate the public, starting with school aged children, on how to connect to the internet in the safest way possible. We all deserve the right to fully informed consumer choices to best protect ourselves, our families, communities, and our collective future on this planet.
Social Injustice in Internet Access
Environmental pollutants have a long and well-documented history of impacting communities of lesser means. In the case of 5G, there is no evidence to date that lower income communities are preferentially being targeted for 5G and that safer wired connections are being withheld.
However, defending against 5G takes lots of money, time, effort and resources, all of which communities of means have access to if they get organized in time and choose to push back against industry’s agenda.
Communities of lesser means cannot afford the luxury of fighting the system. Either they must accept a cell tower antenna outside their bedroom window or no internet connectivity at all — a grim choice indeed.
The BBC aired their File on Four offering “the 5G Con that could make you sick” on Tuesday 16th June on Radio 4. File on Four is an “Award-winning current affairs documentary series investigating major issues at home and abroad”.
The programme featured well known go-to 5G proponent David Robert Grimes who, egged on by presenter Tom Wright, took a laboured and sneering tone of boredom throughout at having to repeat such basic facts.
This tone matched the context, in which Electro Hypersensitivity Sufferers (EHS) were presented as ‘dangerously’ believing that their symptoms are related to Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMF). As the programme lumbered on, these unfortunates were eventually presented virtually as a virus in their own right, with the power to infect the world with this belief.
The eminent and influential award winning scientist and writer Dr Devra Davis pulled her contribution to the programme citing concerns about the context: “I refused to participate in the BBC program when it became clear that they had conducted a sting operation by fraudulently inviting me to talk about the science when all they wanted to do was try to make a mockery of the serious concerns many scientists have a about EHS” Dr Davis commented.
Introducing Conflict of Interests
We were led inexorably towards the spectre of conflict of interest, snake-oil salesmen making money off products touted to alleviate symptoms of EMF, which were duly ridiculed as an example of why any criticism should be urgently dismissed.
In a co-authored paper on the dangers of bad research about radio frequency dangers, David Robert Grimes and fellow skeptic Dorothy Bishop wrote the following:
“Conflicts of interest (COI) can distort scientific reporting, and it is important they are declared so that any potential impediment to objectivity by authors be known to reviewers.”
We must loosely assume File on Four was supposed to be scientific reporting, and so should be expected, including by Grimes, to meet this standard.
But before we go any further let’s remember that it is a crime to consume live tv or streamed content without having a tv license.
“Part 4 of the Communications Act 2003 makes it an offence to use or install TV receiving equipment to: watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, including programmes streamed over the internet and satellite programmes from outside the UK”
That’s the context in which File on Four omitted to mention the BBC’s own conflicts of interest (COI) in discussing the safety of EMF, given that they are an actual partner in the 5G roll-out.
They are partnering with 5G Rural First: “the BBC has recently been at the forefront of trials and developments of the 4G and pre-5G Broadcast technologies to be trialled in 5G RuralFirst.”
And then there’s 5G-XCast, a “5GPPP Phase II project focused on Broadcast and Multicast Communication Enablers For the Fifth Generation of Wireless Systems” who are partnering with a wide range of European telcos to bathe Europe in EMF.
“A project of this type could not be successful without a large, experienced and balanced set of partners whose expertise covers the complete Media and Entertainment (M&E) value chain” say 5G-XCast, who describe the BBC as existing “to serve the public, and its mission is to inform, educate and entertain.”
Right now the BBC is also involved in a competition called 5G Create partnering with Government’s Creative Industries Council.
“The Creative Industries Council is delighted that DCMS is launching 5G Create. We have been advocating a funded competition along these lines, as an exciting opportunity for UK creative companies to develop innovative products and services using this transformational technology,” said Tim Davie, Co-Chair of the Creative Industries Council and CEO of BBC Studios.
It is noteworthy that the competition is looking for development of products and services – a far cry from “we need 5G because 4G can’t cut it” – they’re actually very busy shelling out (our) money looking for things to do with it.
What non legally risky ways are there to call out this Gordion knot of hypocrisy?
Oversight what oversight?
The BBC’s regulator, OFCOM, state that they have no responsibility to assess the safety or otherwise of EMF even though they are the regulatory body.
“Ofcom regulates the use of radio frequencies by mobile networks. We are not responsible for setting electromagnetic field (EMF) safety levels, but we do test EMF levels near to mobile phone base stations.”
The can is tossed to Public Health England (PHE) who, as usual, toss it back to the very conflicted interests of ICNIRP.
OFCOM are then free to announce:
“We’re working with the Government and industry to help the UK become a world leader in 5G.”
Science-journalism – the 5G hard-sell
Having established the fraud of the whole undertaking, it hardly seems necessary to dignify any of the specific inaccurate statements about, for example the NTP study with rebuttal. The lead designer of the study has already published the study data exposing these conflicted misrepresentations. But why would a programme pretending to objectively assess 5G while hiding the BBC’s partnership in pushing it onto the public, tell the truth about scientifically evidenced dangers?
An example: the casual claim that rats in the NTP study who were exposed to radiation “lived longer” than the rats in the control group, which Grimes suggested might be one possible reason for why they “got more cancers”. How would the 5G agenda benefit from the public knowing that the mean survival for male rats in the exposure group, at 637 days, was five days less than the 642 days mean survival of the control? Or that rats and mice had heart and DNA damage in tests where they were sacrificed at just a few months old, where survival time was technically irrelevant?
No, the BBC have rightly gauged that the public are much more likely to buy in if the danger is squarely misrepresented by, for example, telling us that the animals were exposed to “wifi signals many times higher than those permitted for humans”. That sounds like a red flag doesn’t it, just like the ‘conflict of interest’ projection followed through the programme to disguise the fraud being perpetrated.
Could the BBC sell 5G more by admitting that it wasn’t wi-fi at all but mobile signals CDMA and GSM, or that the highest level used in the test (6W/kg) is only slightly higher that the FCC public limit, and actually lower than the occupational localised SAR limit? That’s the one Americans are allowed to work in by the way.
What price science?
So where does this leave science, or David Robert Grimes, whose criticisms of conflict of interest are so copious? Are we supposed to believe he doesn’t know that the BBC is using licence payers’ money to implement technology which wireless industry representatives admit has had no independent safety checks, and which Lloyds of London won’t underwrite, citing asbestos and tobacco?
What use is anything Grimes says, or science itself, if so dishonestly employed to promote huge conflicts of interest? It’s so ridiculous, how can such obvious projection fool anyone?
The answer is in the programme’s title: by hiding in plain sight. This programme itself and the whole box of dirty tricks behind it is “The 5G con that could make you sick”.
The astounding number of media tricks pulled in such a short time on a paying public deserves further scrutiny. Even the programme’s pretension to decry conflicts of interest turns out to be conflicted, because the BBC are demonstrably presenting their own reporting as free of such concerns in comparison, when in reality it is anything but.
Wagers are in, frankly, on this being a bench-mark of slick and slimy science-media con-fluence.
The best that can be said is that the programme’s existence supports the allegation, widely made by serious critics of 5G, that the BBC, the Government and it’s conflict-of-interest quangos would sink to any depth to push what is effectively now ‘their’ product, since their fingers are all so stodgily in the pie.
By Sarah Aminoff, Susan Foster, Kate Kheel April 14th, 2020
(NB: For the purposes of this statement, 5G includes all iterations of the densification of wireless infrastructure and data transmissions – 4G+, 5GE, and 5G, with and without the addition of millimeter wave frequencies.)
COVID-19 and 5G
As of this date, there is no definitive scientific evidence that COVID-19 is caused by 4G, 5G or other sources of electromagnetic radiation. There is, however, ample evidence that radio-frequency/microwave radiation – aka wireless radiation – from cell towers, cellphones, WiFi, cordless phones, smart appliances, smart homes, smart cities etc. can adversely impact the immune system and overall health. Thus, exposure to electromagnetic radiation is a significant factor to consider when addressing the rapid spread of COVID-19, as well as decisions around the buildout of wireless infrastructure vs. safer wired connections.
History of Electromagnetic Radiation and Health
Radiation exposure has been a concern for health researchers and policy makers beginning with radar during WWII. Yet for the most part, the public remains unaware of the growing body of independent science showing adverse health impacts from wireless radiation.
Since the 1980s, the telecommunications industry has purchased partial or majority ownership privileges in major media outlets. Some outlets previously known for their objectivity have been conspicuously silent about harms from wireless radiation, even as government and independent researchers are finding links between wireless radiation and cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, birth defects, learning disabilities, headaches, sleep disturbances, and autoimmune disorders. As a result, the public has, for the most part, accepted our wireless world as a convenient and often intriguing way of life, and/or the inevitable way of the future – “Can’t stop progress”. And governments’ collective silence has offered a presumption of safety.
For decades, telecom companies have lobbied their governments to pass laws favorable to industry, including some areas where citizens are even denied the right to object to cell tower placement on the basis of health. We can’t help but ask, “Why would industry influence governments to exempt health issues for wireless facilities if radiofrequency radiation (RFR) is safe?”And we can’t help but notice that 5G infrastructure – a quantum technological leap – is being rolled out around the world at lightning speed before undertaking a single safety study.
Has Electromagnetic Radiation Contributed to the Spread of COVID-19?
Wuhan was one of the first five cities in China to fully implement 4G+/5G and was also a viral hotspot. Were those who lived in Wuhan more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to 5G? What about the Lombardy Region of Italy, South Korea, Spain, and New York? Shelter-in-place measures, urban density, air pollution, public transit, and other factors likely impact the spread or containment of COVID-19. But does 5G contribute above and beyond these factors? Is 5G the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ when added to the many other environmental toxins we are inundated with due to policies that put profit before health and well-being?
There is much research linking wireless radiation with oxidative stress and adverse impacts on immune function (See, 1, 2, 3). Professor Klaus Buchner, physicist in Germany and Member of European Parliament states, “There is clear scientific evidence that the spreading of viruses is accelerated by electromagnetic radiation.” Key points:
Immune suppressing and immune disturbing effects of EMF
Ronald N. Kostoff, Research Affiliate, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, explains in his recent monograph that radio-frequency radiation typically acts in combination, one increasing the impacts of the other rendering the immune system “…unable to counteract exposure to viruses as nature intended.”
Kostoff goes on to say in the same monograph: “This gets to the link between wireless radiation exposure and the latest coronavirus pandemic. Wireless radiation adversely affects the immune system…, and a weakened immune system increases the chances that exposure to the coronavirus (or any virus) will translate into symptoms/disease.”
In addition, there are other serious health effects from radio-frequency microwave radiation. A 10-year $30 million dollar study from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) funded by the U.S. government, and research from the Ramazzini Institute showed clear evidence of cancer and adverse impacts to the brain and heart from previous generations of wireless.
The Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) which provides scientific advice to the European Commission regarding public health, issued a statement identifying 5G impact as “high,” and that “the lack of clear evidence…of exposure guidelines to 5G technology leaves open the possibility of unintended biological consequences.”
At a time when the entire world is struggling with a pandemic, is it wise to roll out 5G? After all, an entirely new generation of wireless technology with many novel and untested features such as higher frequencies, cellphone antennas next to homes, schools, businesses, public buildings and places of worship, phased array antennas, and Massive Input Massive Output (MIMO), is a dramatic technological leap without a single safety test.
Recommendations to Governments
We urge governments to enact a moratorium on 5G and strongly push back against the race to build out further wireless infrastructure both on land and in space. We oppose the implementation of disaster capitalism, (aka disaster profiteering) as it is now playing out with stealth and overt deployment of wireless infrastructure during this time of crisis. Governments owe it to the public to provide evidence of safety by scientists independent of industry before blanketing the Earth and sky with yet another layer of electromagnetic radiation. Telemedicine, online education, or other services would be far better addressed through safer, wired connections.
Based on the overwhelming body of science from international military/government reports as well as from independent science showing harm from electromagnetic radiation, we urge governments to halt the build-out and activation of all 5G infrastructure, both on Earth and in space, and to respond to a need for more broadband access with safer, faster, more reliable and resilient wired connections.
Recommendations Regarding Exposure to Wireless Radiation
Home from school, the default mode could become screen-time only. Families and caretakers might consider taking advantage of these value-fillable days to rekindle children’s ability to play, imagine, day-dream, romp in the dirt, explore nature, and above all, spend quality time with family. Likely, screen-time cravings will fall away quite naturally when children are gifted the nurturing they truly want and need.
May this global wake-up call help move us toward a future where respect for life takes precedence over corporate self-gain, and where technology has undergone scrutiny to ensure the health and well-being of all life on the planet.
As of July 2019, 21 states in the US had passed 5G legislation largely removing local communities’ right to weigh in on the placement, fees, review timelines, and appeal processes of 4g/5g wireless cellphone antennas aka so-called “small cells”. These favorable-to-industry ALEC state bills ignore health impacts, privacy violations, weather forecasting interference to name just a few of the ways in which the public will be negatively impacted.
In response to the Colorado state bill, a group of citizens submitted to their state legislators an excellent Policy Report, Reclaiming Local Control Over Wireless Facilities in Colorado. The report identifies many shortcomings of the Colorado legislation. It also suggests that if the legislators should choose to craft new legislation, that it prioritize local control as was done with earlier generations of cellphones.
This very thorough and well-written report can be used in other states facing these similar bills and may also be prove useful in educating local representatives.
Please find three links below:
1. Link to a summary article about the state of the state bills (as of July 2019) put out by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
A practical guide to engage with the Community, Council, Doctors, Legal pathways & Telcos; to put the brakes on the 5G roll-out. Let’s Stop 5G unless safety testing is conducted that ensures public health, wildlife and the environment are not at risk from harm. Scientific evidence proves the detrimental effects of electromagnetic radiation exposure, WE DO NOT CONSENT to more!