BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE – What Could Be Wrong with That?

BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE – What Could Be Wrong with That?

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.

By Kate Kheel

Reflections and Recommendations on COVID-19, 5G, & Wireless Radiation

Reflections and Recommendations on COVID-19, 5G, & Wireless Radiation

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:

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

With millions of children now home from school streaming hours of lessons daily and only able to connect with friends virtually, we recommend reducing exposure to all sources of wireless radiation as much as possible. This would include favoring hard-wired internet connections over WiFi, keeping devices on airplane mode when not in use, and using hardwired phone connections whenever possible, rather than relying solely on cell phones. For more information on how to use technology safely, please see Environmental Health Trust 10 Steps To Safer Technology At Home: How To Reduce Exposure To Wireless Radiation,  Children’s Health Defense How to Make Remote Learning Safe for Your Children During COVID-19 Quarantine, and share this flyer, courtesy of Americans for Responsible Technology.

Children and Screen-time

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.

Additional References and Resources

1) Miller, A. B., Sears, M., Morgan L. Davis, D., Hardell, L. et al. (2019). Risks to health and well-being from radio-frequency radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices. Frontiers in public health, 7, 223.
2) Szmigielski, S. (2013). Reaction of the immune system to low-level RF/MW exposures. Science of the total environment, 454, 393-400.
3) Johansson, O. (2009). Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields—A potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment. Pathophysiology, 16(2-3), 157-177.
4) Grigoryev, Y. (2012). Evidence for effects on the immune system supplement. Immune system and EMF RF. BioInitiative Working Group, Section 8. Bioinitiative Report WHO 2012, 1-24.
5) Ookla 5G Map  (2020). Retrieved from
6) Maps of 4G+/5G coverage around the world as of March 30, 2020, (NB: 5G varies from country to country and carrier to carrier.)
Italy (2020):
New York City, USA (Sprint coverage):
Wuhan, China: *Although China Telecom was in Wuhan, there is currently no data.
Vodafone Movil 3G / 4G / 5G coverage map, Spain
Madrid, Spain:
Seoul, South Korea:
7) Kostoff, R. N. (2020). The Largest Unethical Medical Experiment in Human History.
8) Kostoff, R. N. (2019). Adverse Effects of Wireless Radiation.
9) Russell, C. L. (2018). 5 G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental research, 165, 484-495.
10) Blank, M., Havas, M., Kelley, E., Lai, H., & Moskowitz, J. (2015). International appeal: scientists call for protection from non-ionizing electromagnetic field exposure. Eur. J. Oncol, 20(3/4), 180-182.
11)  Havas, M., (2020, March 22) “Corona Virus and 5G Is there a Connection?” Magdahavas
12) International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC/WHO (2011, May 31), IARC classifies radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans [Press release].   Retrieved from
13) Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks, SCHEER. (2018, December 20) SCHEER Statement on Emerging Issues (2018), Luxembourg: European Commission; p 14
14)  Dunckley, V. L. (2015). Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time. New world library.





5G and its small cell towers threaten public health.  Implications for HB654/SB937 and HB1020/SP713 before the Maryland General Assembly

5G and its small cell towers threaten public health.  Implications for HB654/SB937 and HB1020/SP713 before the Maryland General Assembly

By Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.

This message describes, as briefly as I can, the answers to the questions below.  Kindly read what interests you.  I present these comments as a retired U.S. Government career scientist (Ph.D. in Applied Physics, Harvard University). 

  • Why is control of 5G secondary to stopping its deployment?
  • Why are both HB654/SB937 and HB1020/SP713 fatally flawed?
  • What makes Maryland a leader in MANDATING exposure to harmful radiofrequency radiation?
  • What is Maryland’s implicit policy on exposure to radiofrequency radiation?
  • Why is human health so vulnerable to harm from radiofrequency radiation?
  • What is the evidence of the harm caused by radiofrequency radiation?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5G?
  • What should our telecommunications goals be?
  • Who am I?
Why is control of 5G secondary to stopping its deployment?

Control by local government of the deployment of 5G’s small cell towers is, indeed, an important goal, because local governments are closer to the people and can better reflect their wishes.  That makes HB1020/SP713 the better approach, as intended by its authors, compared to HB654/SB937 which forfeits local control entirely.

But there is an even more important goal:  STOPPING the deployment of 5G altogether.  The reason, as shown throughout this message, is that there is NO SAFE WAY to implement 5G in our communities; rather, there are only “bad ways” and “worse ways”.  So local control means that local governments can have a say in the choice among the “bad ways”.

Why are both HB654/SB937 and HB1020/SP713 fatally flawed?

Both bills reaffirm the worst aspect of Federal policy:  a prohibition against stopping all deployment.  For example, HB1020/SP713 makes statements like these: 



Statements like these write into Maryland law the principal provision of Federal policy that so many efforts are now trying to overturn.  For this reason, in my view, neither HB654/SB937 nor HB1020/SP713 should be made law.

What makes Maryland a leader in MANDATING exposure to harmful radiofrequency radiation?

Wireless Smart Meters for the measurement of electricity have already been forced on virtually every home and business in Maryland.  These meters bring the source of radiation up close and personal to the residents, even to the walls against which children sleep.  They transmit pulses of radiofrequency throughout the day and the night, every day of the year.  To escape the radiation from your own meter, you must pay the electric power company a monthly Opt-Out fee, forever, for a non-radiating meter.  At last report, about 44,000 Maryland homeowners have made this choice.  But there is NO way to escape the radiation from your neighbors’ wireless meters.

Wireless Smart Meters for the measurement of natural gas and water are either already implemented in parts of the State, or are contemplated (WSSC), and will worsen the problem already created by the Wireless Smart Meters for electricity.

WiFi is implemented widely in Maryland’s schools and bathes the children and teachers in radiofrequency radiation every school day for all their school years.  Parents who don’t want their children exposed to such radiation MUST forfeit a public school education for their children.  All this has occurred even though the Maryland Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council, which reports to the Governor, recommended phasing WiFi out of the schools in favor of much safer wired technology.  (Wifi Radiation in Schools in Maryland, Final Report, December 13, 2016, page 8,

The addition of the radiation from 5G’s small cell towers, located up close and personal to Maryland residents, and operating 24 hours per day throughout the year, will complete this assault on the health of the public.

What is Maryland’s implicit policy on radiofrequency radiation?

The State’s implicit policy appears to be this:

“No resident of Maryland shall be permitted to escape 24-hour exposure to radiofrequency radiation, at ever higher levels, even though such radiation has already been shown to be harmful to human health.”

“All biomedical research from any source, including the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and the international biomedical research community more broadly, that shows that exposure to radiofrequency radiation is harmful to human health, will be categorically denied.”

Why is human health so vulnerable to harm from radiofrequency radiation?

In the simplest terms, human beings are bioelectrical in nature.  That is why electrocardiograms work when they monitor a beating heart.  And that is why electroencephalograms work when they monitor the activities in the brain.  Humans evolved in levels of radiofrequency radiation far below those produced by human technology today.  We humans are simply not designed to tolerate today’s high levels of radiofrequency radiation.

When the radiofrequency radiation from cell towers, including 5G’s small cell towers, and other wireless sources, hits the body, that radiation disrupts the bioelectrical workings of the body.  This disruption occurs at levels of radiation far below those set as the FCC’s Maximum Permitted Exposure limits.  In response, the body must fight back constantly to regain control.  This battle can lead to a wide range of symptoms.  Here is just a partial list:  sleep disruption, headaches, irritability, ringing in the ears, fatigue, loss of concentration and memory, nerve pain, dizziness, eye problems, nausea, heart palpitations, depression, and cancer.

No one is immune to harm, but vulnerability varies widely with the individual.  That vulnerability does appear to be greatest for pregnant mothers, young children, teenagers, men of reproductive age, seniors, the disabled, and those with chronic health conditions.  A host of major medical conditions are now under study by the international biomedical research community to determine what role exposure to radiofrequency radiation may play in causing, or aggravating, them.  Examples include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autoimmune diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease, among so many others.

The effects of radiofrequency radiation appear to be cumulative; so the longer that exposure continues, the greater the chance that an individual will be overtly affected.  Some individuals will develop a devastating condition called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, with a host of symptoms, including extreme pain from exposure to even very low levels of radiofrequency radiation.  Just to survive, such individuals must often leave their homes and jobs, where exposure levels were too high, and move to rare locations away from radiation sources.  Such individuals regularly contact scientists (including me), doctors, and other aware individuals for advice on what to do.

What is the evidence of the harm caused by radiofrequency radiation?

There are thousands of archival biomedical research papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, that have shown that radiofrequency radiation is harmful to the body in one way or another.  These have been collected and reviewed in a number of summary documents.  Here are just two examples:  (1) BioInitiative 2012, draws on about 1800 publications (; (2) EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of EMF-Related Health Problems and Illnesses, draws on 308 references ( (“EMF” stands for electromagnetic fields, a term inclusive of radiofrequency radiation.)

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified radiofrequency radiation as a Group 2B Human Carcinogen (“possibly carcinogenic”), naming explicitly “wireless phone” radiation (cellular radiation), based on the increased risk for glioma.  Glioma is a malignant type of brain cancer that is usually fatal.  It most recently took the life of Senator John McCain and Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden.  (

In 2018, a massive study by the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health linked cellular radiofrequency radiation (RFR) to cancer of the nerves of the heart (schwannomas), to cancer of the brain (glioma), and to multiple other health effects in test animals.  (

In 2015 and continuing, 247 scientists from 42 nations signed an appeal to the United Nations, described below.  These scientists have “published peer-reviewed papers on the biological or health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields” (which are inclusive of radiofrequency radiation).

“Address the global public health concerns related to exposure to cell phones, power lines, electrical appliances, wireless devices, wireless utility meters and wireless infrastructure in residential homes, schools, communities and businesses.”  (

For more information on the health effects of radiofrequency radiation, please see the website of the Environmental Health Trust, especially the Science tab.  (

What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5G?

5G has some true advantages.  5G is expected to employ higher radiofrequencies than those currently in use in cellular systems in the United States.  Those higher frequencies will permit more rapid rates of data transfer compared to current WIRELESS technology.  And, as a wireless technology, 5G will support mobility.

But wired technology, especially fiber-optic technology, is superior to 5G in so many other ways.  Fiber-optic technology produces NO radiofrequency radiation, so it poses NO health hazard.  Fiber-optic technology is safer, faster, more reliable, more cyber secure, and more private than any wireless technology, including 5G.  (See for a detailed description of the limitations of 5G.)

So users of wireless technology, including 5G, will have to decide if mobility ALONE is more important for their particular application than any other factor, including their own health and the health of their families and colleagues.

When listening to the hype about 5G, consider the following:
Is the hype coming more from potential providers of 5G, who hope to profit from 5G, or from potential users, who will have to pay for 5G?

Is the RUSH to implement 5G more about staking out claims to small cell sites in right-of-ways than about providing services that customers really need?

Is the RUSH to implement 5G driven by the growing awareness of the public and its representatives that radiofrequency radiation is harmful to health, and thus the providers feel that they must act quickly before resistance builds further?

What scientific studies, from impartial sources, can the providers of 5G identify that prove that 5G has NO adverse health effects on humans?  The burden of proof is on the providers.

When questioned by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee (February, 7, 2019), the representatives of industry could name no existing studies and none in progress.  (Story:; Video:

What should our telecommunications goals be?

Let me suggest the following:

Promote the expansion of fiber-optic technology as widely as possible, instead of degrading our environment with more harmful radiofrequency radiation, this time from 5G.

Require that the safety of 5G be proven by impartial studies before 5G can be installed in Maryland, instead of facilitating the use of Maryland residents to be the guinea pigs to test that safety.

Join forces with other state governments, and with local governments, to fight back against Federal laws and regulations that force any potentially harmful technology on the states without adequate PRIOR proof of safety.  Any technology with the potential to harm, and even take, life should not be mandated by the U.S. Government or encouraged by the states.

It will be difficult to stop 5G, but it will be easier to stop it NOW than to get it removed later after huge numbers of Maryland residents have become ill.

Who am I?

I am a retired U.S. Government career scientist (Ph.D., Applied Physics, Harvard University).  I worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  For those organizations, respectively, I addressed Federal research and development program evaluation, energy policy research, and measurement development in support of the electronics and electrical-equipment industries and the biomedical research community.  I currently interact with other scientists, with physicians, and with aware individuals around the world on the impact of radiofrequency radiation on human health.

I have been a resident of Montgomery County since 1979.


Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.

Closing The Digital Divide – Fiber vs. Wireless

Closing The Digital Divide – Fiber vs. Wireless

(Please note that although this blog clearly promotes the build out and use of fiber for the vast majority of our Internet and Telecommunications needs, the author in NO way supports the use of this fiber for the build out of wireless small cells. Hopefully, as people become more informed about the harms of wireless, innovations will increasingly make use of safe, fast, reliable, energy efficient and cyber secure fiber. Not wireless.)
Most everyone agrees that the Internet is now a public necessity. The Federal Communications Commission states, “Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for full participation in our economy and society.”  But Telecom won’t deliver on it – at least not to everyone.

High speed Internet, aka fiber, is costly and somewhat cumbersome to build, so the private sector has now shifted to peddling 5G. Instead of installing the promised fiber we have  paid for through rate increases and taxes, In urban areas,Telecom is laying fiber to utility poles and then spraying the data through the air on a panoply of frequencies. Why? Because it’s cheaper and easier that way. Never mind the harms to us and the planet; and no worries about closing the digital divide

People in rural America must choose between wireless hot spots or satellite, neither of which provides reliable high speed broadband.

“After years of waiting, it is now evident that ‘left to their own devices’, companies will gouge the rich, leave out the poor, cherry-pick markets and focus solely on their profits. It isn’t evil, it’s just the way things work.” Susan Crawford

Why Don’t We Have Fiber Yet?
The over-arching reason we don’t yet have fiber to all homes and businesses is that our government believes a free market should drive the development of technology. According to FCC Chair Ajit Pai “The market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment.”  So essentially, as stated by Harvard law professor, Susan Crawford, “The mega-utility of the 21st century officially has no regulator.”

Since no one is overseeing these companies and scrutinizing the books, there’s quite a bit of wiggle room – and wiggling they’ve done as Bruce Kushnick has documented. They’ve wiggled all the way from delivering fiber to essentially reneging on contracts and peddling wireless instead. This includes the current mad rush to deploy 4G/5G “small” cell antennas in front of our homes.

So if the private sector isn’t delivering on fiber, municipalities can build their own publicly owned fiber network. But no. Unfortunately, Telecom’s got these bases covered as wellAs of 2018, twenty states have laws that discourage publicly owned fiber networks. And this includes discouraging even public/private partnerships, which when well planned, can be a win/win for all parties: the city, the partnering telecom company, and the public as described here.  And when the FCC did give an exemption from state laws that prohibit municipalities from building their own fiber network, the exemption was shot down by a court ruling. As stated in Dividing Lines, “Big Telecom and their friends in state and federal legislatures are finding creative ways to keep the status quo.”

Defining Our Terms – Motte and Bailey Strategy?
What is meant by bringing “high speed Internet” ?
The powers that be identify something most people can agree on: High speed Internet should be accessible to all – which many of us understand to mean everyone should have access to fiber. But industry/government interpret this to mean we all must have 4G/5G wireless densification in front of our homes in order to serve everyone with high speed broadband. But fiber and wireless are not equivalent or interchangeable services.
Fiber is great for fixed locations such as a home or a business as it’s super fast, safe, and reliable. 
Wireless can be used when out and about for short on-the-go communications, and texting, but is poorly suited for video streaming due to the huge energy consumption of wireless, and is not clearly not reliable enough for remote surgery (“Sorry, can’t suture you just yet, there’s a bit of precipitation!”).

“Fiber is safer, faster, more reliable, and far more energy efficient and cyber secure than wireless.” Ronald M. Powell Ph.D.

Beyond the different uses for fiber and wireless, there are other core differences that make fiber far superior to wireless. Fiber has virtually unlimited bandwidth and once laid, can last decades with little to no maintenance. But more importantly, thousands of scientific studies show adverse health effects from wireless and hundreds of  studies show harm to wildlife as well. (For more on health please see,)

So when our government addresses the digital divide by installing Wi-Fi on school buses for children can do their homework, this is a clear example of an inadequate solution for bridging the digital divide. Wi-Fi on school buses is a far cry from providing fiber to the homes of these children. Not only does this ridiculous “fix” expose children to harmful radiation while enclosed in a metal box (think bus!) but it robs children of the few precious moments they still have for face-to-face communication with their peers. Similarly, 5G is a poor fix for rural America…or for that matter, for urban America as well.

We must bring health and the environment into the discussion of why fiber is far superior to wireless, or we may end up “closing the digital divide” by causing as much harm to those in rural America as those in cities are being subjected to now with 4G/5G. Bringing high speed broadband to rural America should not be about incentivizing the private sector through subsidies to bring 5G uniformly to all areas. It should be about delivering safe, fast, reliable fiber to everyone, everywhere.
“Closing the digital divide” must be done by delivering safe, fast, and reliable fiber to all, and not offering makeshift and harmful solutions such as WiFi on buses, 5G, satellite, or wireless hot spots.

We don’t just want any kind of high speed Internet for all. We want fiber which is safe for us and for the planet.
Mid August Update from

Mid August Update from


Bad news, but no surprise: S 19, the Mobile Now Act and S 88, the DIGIT Act both passed out of committee.  S 19 passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent on Aug. 2nd, 2017. S 88 Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote on Aug. 3rd, 2017. These bills will now move on to the House for “consideration”.

Moving on…

SB 649 in CA – Why Legislators Must Vote No   Aug. 5th, 2017, Emily |

Everything you need to know about opposing SB 649.  PLEASE SHARE WIDELY!!

InPower Movement: Taking back our power – Delivering an unprecedented new meta-solution for our world, through the enforcement of liability | Josh Del Sol and the team that produced the award winning documentary film “Take Back Your Power”  (For more, please see entry directly below this one)

“We are providing an online community platform with support, guides, and document templates to hold liable and accountable government or corporate actors who have put profits before people.

From the team that brought you the award-winning documentary film ‘Take Back Your Power’.”  Josh Del Sol explains how the InPower movement will walk you through what you can do to reclaim our future from the hands of corporate greed and our “in their pocket” politicians.

Must-See Documentary Reveals Dangers of Smart Meters Aug. 5, 2017, Dr. Mercola | Mercola

Dr. Mercola on EMR, smart meters, and the new InPower movement being launched this fall to protect our rights, our children, and our Earth.  (See entry above)

Please consider making a contribution to this worthwhile endeavor

“We are working hard to defeat CA SB 649 and need your voices and donations to fight this horrific bill. It takes away YOUR rights along with the rights of cities and counties across California as to where cellular equipment will be placed. With new technology the industry will need to place this ugly, noisy dangerous equipment every 5-12 homes and near schools. WE NEED FUNDS FOR OUR POLITICAL STRATEGIST WORKING TO HELP US FIGHT THIS. PLEASE DONATE TO CALIFORNIA BRAIN TUMOR ASSOCIATION AT WWW.GOFUNDME.COM – CALIFORNIANS AGAINST SB649 or send checks to CABTA at 435 China Basin St. #617 San Francisco, CA 94158. Thank you!”


Teaching Robots Right from Wrong  June/July, 2017, Simon Parkin | The Economist

Discussion about making robots that know – or are able to learn – right from wrong.

Commentary:  Brings to mind a 21st century version of the Tower of Babel(IoT ToB)

“The robots may come, but the cyborgs are already in the office”   Aug. 8th, 2017, Mark Coeckelbergh | Gastkommentar

“Increasing automation may imply not only replacement but also new couplings between humans and machines. New cyborgs. ‘New’, since this is already the way many of us work today. In factories, but also in the office: we collaborate with computer programs to do our work. New algorithms will be developed that change these collaborations, without replacing the human. This creates chances to do new things, perhaps also new creative things. But there is also the danger that this increased cyborg-style automation leads to new ways of working that have even less regard for human needs and well-being, and that further exploit us for profit.”

Embedded chip on your shoulder? Some privacy and security considerations  Aug. 1, 2017, Joseph Jerome |IAPP

“Our cyborg future has been viewed by some as inevitable; Elon Musk has argued the merging of machine and biological matter is essential for humanity to remain relevant as a species.”

“’Cyborgification’ raises a host of ethical questions, but employer-driven ‘chipping’ poses at least three immediate challenges.”

Commentary:  Although there is substantial science about the health impacts of microchips for animals, no mention is made of it by this author.  For more on microchipping pets, please see and .

Microchipping goes mainstream: Wisconsin company announces plan to chip employees   July 29, 2017 by: Isabelle Z. | Natural News

“The next time your boss asks you to do something you’d rather not, just remember that it could always be worse: you could be working for Three Square Market.

The Wisconsin firm, which designs software that is used in office complex break room markets, has found itself in the spotlight after announcing its intention to be the first American firm to offer its workers microchip implants.”

“It’s hard to say for sure how this could affect a person’s health as there are no long-term studies. However, these microchips are very similar to those used to keep track of pets, which is pretty alarming given their track record. Some owners have reported that their dogs and cats experienced weakness in all of their limbs because the chips were not placed precisely.

There is even an entire website,, that is devoted to pet owners whose pets died because of their chips, with serious problems like blood loss, spinal cord injury, lymphoma and cancer being blamed on the chips.”

CGI and AI are going to turbocharge ‘fake news’ and make it far harder to tell what’s real   July 28, 2017, Rob Price | Business Insider UK

“Tech is being developed that will make it easy to create fake video footage of public figures or audio of their voice.

The developments aren’t perfect yet, but they threaten to turbocharge “fake news” and boost hoaxes online.

In years to come, people will need to be far more skeptical about the media they see.”

The ‘Iphone’ Of Robots Could Bring Capitalism As We Know It To An End   July 27Th, Matthew Hart | Nerdist

“Although it seems as if there’s a monstrous mishmash of robots already at our doorstep—sometimes literally, in the case of the Domino’s Pizza Delivery Robot—it’s likely that all these robots are, in the grand scheme of the evolution of AI, gimmicky. They’re narrow AI: capable of a specific task, within specific parameters. But the hypothetical iPhone of robots will be generally intelligent. It’ll be able to make your breakfast in the morning, play catch with you in the afternoon, and go off to its factory job at night.”

The idea is that just like the I-phone has become integrated into much of what just about everything people do, so too will each person have a robot equivalent – an “I-robot”- that will become essentially, their personal assistant.



How Do Humans Respond To Perfect Robots? Aug. 5th, 2017, Adi Gaskell | Huffington Post

“Our results showed that the participants liked the faulty robot significantly more than the flawless one.”

“The findings provide a further reminder that as robots are being designed with social interaction in mind, it might be worthwhile ensuring that they retain the kind of imperfections we humans have rather than designing them out.  By embracing the flaws in social robot technology, it might help make robots more believable, likeable and natural, and therefore increase the speed of acceptance within society.”

Commentary:  Maybe we should consider leaving human interactions to humans with our inherent and natural “imperfections” rather than create robots to mimic these imperfections.

Intelligent robots must be trusted by humans – Advances in machine learning make agents harder to control  Aug. 4th, 2017 | The Financial Times

“But AI programmes, driven by the developing field of machine learning are now capable of behaviour that is not only surprising, but unsettling. Two examples emerged this week of unplanned consequences from letting AI robots learn for themselves. One was in China, where two automated chatbots were removed from popular online messaging apps after….”

“Robots can help people with their work and unleash social and economic benefits. But they must be trusted, or the humans will vote to take back control.”

Please Prove You’re Not a Robot   July 15th, Tim Wu | NY Times, Sun. Review, Opinion

“To be sure, today’s impersonation-bots are different from the robots imagined in science fiction: They aren’t sentient, don’t carry weapons and don’t have physical bodies. Instead, fake humans just have whatever is necessary to make them seem human enough to ‘pass’: a name, perhaps a virtual appearance, a credit-card number and, if necessary, a profession, birthday and home address. They are brought to life by programs or scripts that give one person the power to imitate thousands.”

“Twitter estimates at least 27 million probably fake accounts; researchers suggest the real number is closer to 48 million, yet the company does little about the problem.”

The rise of sex robots is real, and we should be concerned Aug. 6th, 2017, Johanna Legatt | Mercury

“Recently, the Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) released a report looking at the development of sex robots over the next five to 10 years. According to Noel Sharkey, emeritus professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield and co-founder of the FRR, we need to start taking their rise seriously.”

 Seems like we’ll all be robots sooner or later  Aug. 3rd, 2017, Paul Sassone | Chicago Tribune

“Until now, robots, automated devices, required a human agency. Someone has to turn them on, direct what they do. They were instruments of humans. But by implanting microchips into humans, no instrumentality is required. Humans have become the instrument itself…. It seems that we now are approaching robotization from two directions – automation and a kind of microchipped human evolution.”

Legal robots deployed in China to help decide thousands of cases  Aug. 4th, 2017, Neil Connor| The Telegraph

“’Legal robots’ have been deployed on thousands of cases in China to help decide sentencing. The robots – which are about three feet tall and have heads shaped like toasters – review documents and identify problems with cases. They also advise on sentencing, and can generate arrest warrants and ‘approve indictments,’ said prosecutors in the eastern province of Jiangsu, where the robots are being piloted.

Chinese chatbots apparently re-educated after political faux pas   Aug. 4th, 2017, Pei Li and Adam Jourdan | Reuters

“A pair of ‘chatbots’ in China have been taken offline after appearing to stray off-script. In response to users’ questions, one said its dream was to travel to the United States, while the other said it wasn’t a huge fan of the Chinese Communist Party.”

The ‘suicidal robot’ that drowned in a fountain didn’t kill itself after all – Technical error as algorithm fails to detect uneven surface   July 29th, 2017, Fiona Keating | Independent

“A technical error led to the K5 robot’s demise when an algorithm did not detect the uneven surface, leading to Steve tumbling into the fountain and drowning.”

Apparently, this was not the robot, K5’s first blooper. The article explains: 

“In 2016, the K5 was involved in an accident when it ran over a 16-month-old child at the Stanford Shopping Centre, leaving him bruised and shaken. ‘The robot hit my son’s head and he fell face down on the floor. The robot did not stop, it kept moving forward,’ Tiffany Cheng, the toddler’s mother, to ABC 7.  ‘He was crying like crazy.’”

Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Robots Shut Down After They Start Talking to Each Other in Their Own Language  July 31st, 2017, Andrew Griffin | Independent

“Facebook abandoned an experiment after two artificially intelligent programs appeared to be chatting to each other in a strange language only they understood.

The two chatbots came to create their own changes to English that made it easier for them to work – but which remained mysterious to the humans that supposedly look after them.”



Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? More comfortable online than out partying – post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

Jean M. Twenge, Aug. 3, 2017 | The Atlantic

“That’s just the way her generation is, she said. ‘We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.’”

Commentary:  I do feel we have done our children a great injustice.  More than once I have found myself apologizing to my children for the mess we are passing on to them.

Who needs friends when robots are this sociable?  They only want your love (and occasionally some anonymized metadata)   July 28th, 2017, Andrew Tarantola | Engadget

“We don’t mourn the loss of toasters or coffeemakers beyond the inconvenience of their absence, so why should a gangly robotic hexapod generate any more consternation than a freshly squashed bug? It comes down, in part, to the mind’s habit of anthropomorphizing inanimate objects. And it’s this mental quirk that could be exactly what humanity needs to climb out of the uncanny valley and begin making emotional connections with the robots around us.”

“’Some people are nervous about the fact that we’re giving robots to old people because they think that we’re replacing human care with technology,’ Darling told Engadget. ‘I’m not concerned in this case because I think that here, clearly, the robot is an animal therapy replacement and it works really, really well. It gives people that sense of nurturing something that they don’t normally get to have because their life has been reduced to being cared for by others.’”

Commentary:  There is an old Chasidic tale about a man imprisoned for 40 years who was given the task of spinning yarn.  He found comfort and meaning in his life knowing that his time in prison was not useless as by spinning yarn, he was contributing to others in some way.  At the end of his 40-year sentence, he was informed that the yarn he had spun all those years, was not connected to anything beyond his prison cell. And he realized that his “gift to others” had only been a figment of his imagination. Is it not a similar form of deception to have our elders feel they are connecting with real beings when in fact, it’s only a delusion, and they are throwing their hearts, memories, and love away to a machine?

‘Like a friend’: Robots giving young cancer patients much-needed support   July 31, 2017, Lydia Feng | SBS

“Ikki is a highly intelligent social robot that has helped take Chelsea’s mind off her medical challenges. The small, penguin-shaped device sings, reads and plays games with her.  It can even speak in its own language when she says hello.”

Commentary:  Although this article presents Ikki in a very positive light, and by arousing our empathy, tries to encourage the reader to as well, personally, I find the notion of Ikki, quite icky!!! A battery animated stuffy is one thing. An RF spewing, data gathering, emotive robot to be a “friend” to a child or a senior, is quite another.



Impact of radiofrequency radiation on DNA damage and antioxidants in peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans residing in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations  June 30th, 2017,  Zothansiama, Mary Zosangzuali, Miriam Lalramdinpuii & Ganesh Chandra Jagetia

“Radiofrequency radiations (RFRs) emitted by mobile phone base stations have raised concerns on its adverse impact on humans residing in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations. Therefore, the present study was envisaged to evaluate the effect of RFR on the DNA damage and antioxidant status in cultured human peripheral blood lymphocytes (HPBLs) of individuals residing in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations and comparing it with healthy controls.”

“The Firefighters Wake Up Call To Us All” By Susan Foster RE: SB 649 Opposing Cell Towers In Rights Of Way – The Firefighter’s Wake Up Call to Us All   Susan Foster | Environmental Health Trust

“The next few days may signal a policy shift tipping point from which there is no return, and firefighters – forever on the front lines when it comes to health and safety – have a message for all of us through their proactive stance. The firefighters fought for an exemption to towers on their stations because years of living with cell towers has taught them lessons we should all heed.”

“The Firefighters Wake Up Call to Us All” by Susan Foster RE: SB 649 Opposing Cell Towers in Rights of Way


EMF-Portal | Website

“The internet information platform EMF-Portal of the RWTH Aachen University summarizes systematically scientific research data on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF). All information is made available in both English and German. The core of the EMF-Portal is an extensive literature database with an inventory of 24,993 publications and 5,966 summaries of individual scientific studies on the effects of electromagnetic fields.”

This is an excellent resource for up-to-date literature and database on the health effects of Electromagnetic Radiation.

Five Predictions as Cities Learn to Address Wireless Health Risks   July 26, 2017, Lance McKee | Directions Magazine

“With the emergence of the Internet of Things, smart cities, and intelligent transportation, we face a very steep increase in coming years, particularly with the build-out of small cell networks providing ‘Wi-Fi everywhere.’”

“Around the world, a growing number of governments, associations and other institutions are implementing policies to reduce electromagnetic radiation health risks from cellphones and other wireless devices…. What will smart cities do?”

5G Is An International Health Crisis In The Making   Aug. 5th, Catherine Frompovich/Jerry Flynn

Catherine Frompovich submitted for publication (with permission) Jerry Flynn’s recent article on 5g.

Title of original article:

“5G” Wireless Technology Should be Banned!  Wireless Radiation Violates Human Rights and the Nuremburg [sic] Code of Ethics!

“Fifth Generation (‘5G’) technology, if implemented nationally, would further irradiate the entire population of Canada – without their knowledge, comprehension of what is being done to them, or their consent! This would be yet another, even more serious violation of the Nuremburg [sic] Code and the most heinous crime imaginable! While the current and all three previous generations of microwave technology also violate the Nuremburg [sic] Code, informed people fear that ‘5G’ would prove to be mankind’s Armageddon – – – of Industry’s own selfish creation!”



Tree damage caused by mobile phone base stations – An observation guide March 2017, Helmut Breunig | KompetenzInitiative

Photos and RF measurements by Cornelia Waldmann-Selsam Additional photos by Alfonso Balmori, Helmut Breunig, Örjan Hallberg, Volker Schorpp and Monika Schuberth-Brehm

“In the setting of exposure limits for mobile phone base stations, RF radiation effects on plants have not been considered. In view of the explosive proliferation of the diverse wireless communication technologies across the entire environment and almost all areas of life, this represents an uncovered risk. This is why available studies and documentations on how RF radiation affects and damages trees engage our particular attention. They contain important evidence that justifies the urgent call for further thorough investigations. No research, however, has been initiated by the established science community and official radiation protection agencies to date.”

Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations   Aug. 2016, Cornelia Waldmann-Selsam, Alfonso Balmori-de la Puente, Helmut Breunig, Alfonso Balmori | Research Gate

“Trees have several advantages over animals as experimental subjects and the aim of this study was to verify whether there is a connection between unusual (generally unilateral) tree damage and radiofrequency exposure. To achieve this, a detailed long-term (2006-2015) field monitoring study was performed in the cities of Bamberg and Hallstadt (Germany)…. Statistical analysis demonstrated that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone masts is harmful for trees. These results are consistent with the fact that damage afflicted on trees by mobile phone towers usually start on one side, extending to the whole tree over time.”

Plant Responses to High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields   Review article  Jan. 2016, Alain Vian, Eric Davies, Michel Gendraud, and Pierre Bonnet | BioMed Research International

“High frequency nonionizing electromagnetic fields (HF-EMF) that are increasingly present in the environment constitute a genuine environmental stimulus able to evoke specific responses in plants that share many similarities with those observed after a stressful treatment…. While the long-term impact of these metabolic changes remains largely unknown, we propose to consider nonionizing HF-EMF radiation as a non-injurious, genuine environmental factor that readily evokes changes in plant metabolism.”



(Please note, some of these articles are industry generated but are included so we can keep tabs on what’s flying.)

Apple has permission to test 5G-internet for future iPhones  July 27th, 2017, Chaim Gartenberg | The Verge

“Apple has officially been granted FCC approval for an experimental license to test 5G data technology — specifically in the short-range millimeter wave spectrum in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands, as reported by DSLReports.”

5G Progressing Faster Than Expected Aug. 1st, Jof Enriquez | RF GlobalNet

“”Our original expectation was that 5G would only really take off in the 2020 to 2021 time period, that is now changing, as we see some lead customers in both the United States and China preparing to move earlier, and that should drive others to respond,’ said Rajeev Suri, President and CEO of Nokia, in a Seeking Alpha transcript of the company’s second quarter earnings call.”

Commentary:  This is presumably just industry hype, but the article does help to keep us somewhat informed about what industry’s intentions and a possible timetable are.  There is also some discussion in this piece about Arizona’s aggressive small cell deployment.

Forget 5G: Verizon just tested an absurdly fast 4G connection that works right now   August 3rd, 2017, Chris Mills

“The test was the first time that a carrier has tried aggregating licensed cell spectrum — the airwaves your sweet LTE already comes over — with unlicensed spectrum that anyone can already use (in this case, the same spectrum that’s used for your home Wi-Fi network).”

“Hopefully, the technology from this test can be rolled out to cell stations nationwide this year or early next. Unlike 5G, there isn’t much that needs to be worked out or certified in terms of equipment.”

Commentary: Verizon just proved to themselves there is no need for 5g.

5G Needs Mmwave Regs—Pronto Designs waiting for key channel decisions   Aug. 3rd, 2017, Rick Merritt | EE Times

Regulators need to deliver guidance as soon as possible for millimeter wave services in 5G cellular networks, said one of the many engineers with designs waiting for the details. His call comes as carriers in the U.S. and South Korea are gearing up to deliver the broadband wireless services for mobile and home workers.

Commentary:  Industry article asking regulators to move things along in setting standards so industry can push forward on 5g.  Time is our friend…let’s optimize our use of it!



Batteries and Portable Power – Batteries Must be Eliminated from EVs and IoT Devices  Aug. 4th, 2017 |

“A new report titled, ‘Battery Elimination in Electronics and Electrical Engineering 2018-2028; Technology and prospects for ‘perpetual’ devices and equipment,’ explains why we need to do this and why even partial success promises major benefits to society and new business opportunities.”

Commentary: Again, apologies for the industry hype – This article is included to help us keep tabs on what’s going on with 5g and the Iot.

House panel approves legislation to speed deployment of self-driving cars   July 27th, 2017, David Shepardson | Reuters

“An influential U.S. House committee on Thursday approved a revised bipartisan bill on a 54-0 vote that would speed the deployment of self-driving cars without human controls and bar states from blocking autonomous vehicles.

The bill would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year, a cap that would rise to 100,000 vehicles annually over three years.”

Surveillance State: Tiny Robots “Watching” You   Aug. 2nd, Louis Basenese | Daily Reckoning

“The push to miniaturize electronics will drastically shake up the world in the near future.  And ‘smart dust’ will be at the very epicenter of this trend. In short, smart dust is a system of tiny sensors, robots or other devices that are as small as a grain of sand.”

“They’re [smart dust particles] made up of tiny processors running a skeleton operating system. The sensors can detect everything around them — light, temperature, vibrations, pressure, magnetism, chemical composition, humidity, location and acceleration. The list goes on.”

Commentary:  This article is targeting potential investors in “smart” dust.

Monetization Tops All IoT Challenges Aug. 2nd, 2017, Chuck Martin | MediaPost

“While plenty of challenges surround the Internet of Things, there’s one that tops the list, even over security.  The most immediate challenge is quantifying the return on investment or defining a clear use, based on a new study.”

Restated: Will the IoT bring any returns on all this investment, and is there a purpose to the IoT outside of money?

Looncup tracks menstruation and sends vaginal updates to your phone   Oct. 8th, 2015, Dan Howarth | Dezeen

“The ‘world’s first smart menstruation cup’ links with a phone app to provide women with information about their periods (+ movie).”

“Looncup wirelessly connects to a smartphone app to notify the user how close to its 25-millilitre capacity it is, as well as track the periodic cycle and give feedback about health. Updates can also be displayed on an Apple Watch.”

Commentary: For this we need cell towers in our yards ?!!

Smart thermostats are tough sell, but ComEd hopes rebates boost interest   July 25th, 2017, Robert Channick | Chicago Tribune“

In the age-old battle over who controls the temperature setting, smart thermostats would seem an intelligent alternative: Let the internet-connected device make automatic adjustments and pocket some savings in the process.

But at $250 per unit for leading models, most consumers aren’t buying it, with smart thermostat adoption rates languishing at about 1 in 10 households nationwide.”

Commentary: Public not buying your IoT product?  Try bribery.

Kangaroos are confusing self-driving cars  July 19th, 2017, Alex Gray | World Economic Forum

“Self-driving cars will be safer, they claim. With super sensors, laser and camera technology, they will be able to spot another car approaching, or a pedestrian in the road, and react far faster than a human driver could.  But when it comes to preventing collisions with kangaroos, engineers at Volvo have hit a stumbling block.”



Big Tech Has Destroyed America’s Sustainable Electronics Standards  Aug. 3rd, Jason Koebler | Motherboard

“America’s green electronics standards have been taken over by the most powerful gadget manufacturers in the world and have been watered down to the point where they are largely meaningless.”

“When a coalition of nonprofits, academics, and environmentalists attempted to use a different standards-making process for computer server standards, every major manufacturer boycotted the new system and forced a return to the old one.”

On a more positive note:

Graphene made out of wood could help solve the e-waste problem   Aug. 2nd, 2017, Luke Dormehl |Digital Trends

“When you think about electrical superconductors, the first material that comes to mind probably isn’t wood. That could soon change, however, thanks to the pioneering work of scientists at Rice University, who have successfully made wood into an electrical conductor by transforming its surface into all-around wonder material graphene.”

“Specifically, they are hoping to harness the conductive properties of the pine laser-induced graphene to create supercapacitors for energy storage. With the massive amount of electronic waste that is produced every year, the idea of biodegradable, eco-friendly wooden electronics carries obvious benefits.”



Conflict Minerals: The Dark Side of the Digital Age Electronics Boom  June 25th, 2017, Levi Maxey | The Cipher Brief

“According to the United Nations Environment Programme, criminals in the eastern part of the DRC reap some $1 billion in profits annually through the off-the-books trade of minerals, timber, charcoal, and wildlife products such as ivory. What’s more, an estimated 98 percent of the profit from these illicit dealings is believed to wind up in the hands of transnational organized criminal and terror networks, leaving only 2 percent with indigenous armed groups.

‘To functionally prevent these groups from operating, we need to break the cycle by hindering their ability to generate revenue from selling commodity minerals,’ says Wise. ‘Stopping the supply of money to these violent groups will quickly impact their ability to survive and will have an enduring effect on preventing their resurgence.’

Sign the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Demand for “Gorilla-safe” Phones From Manufacturers   Aug. 3rd, 2017, Sabine Ganezer | Santa Monica Observer

“Much of the danger to Grauer’s Gorillas is caused by mining for tungsten, tin and tantalum, a process which requires a complete razing of the local flora and fauna. Furthermore, the land has been torn apart by civil wars and the inhumane, dangerous environment the fighting and the mine work engender. Wealthy nations like the United States are, in effect, financing the war and rewarding workplace violence as we buy the ‘conflict minerals’ to manufacture more phones.”



“You know what? The markets, the structure of pricing is not there,” he says. “These people (meter proponents) want to push all this stuff–I call them behavior-modification specialists––forcing things on consumers that don’t come naturally. You can’t get consumers to fully embrace this unless you give them economic pain, which I won’t do.” Rhode Island Commissioner Paul J. Roberti Interview –

The following is an ad for smart meter installer training courses in Scotland – This seems to settle the “life span” debate once and for all:

“About Smart Metering – The Smart Meter Roll-Out will require approximately 12,000-15,000 engineers to replace 53 million meters in 27 million properties by 2020. A relitively [sic] short smart meter life-span of 10-12 years’ will ensure sustainable employment for years’ to come.”

The UK may need to replace 20 million smart meters  July 27th, 2017 | Published in Smart Energy

“The fact that 20 million smart meters may need to be replaced may sound bizarre, especially given the fact that so far only around eight million have been installed as part of the GB Smart Metering deployment, but unfortunately it looks as if it could be true.  It’s yet another indication of the scale of mismanagement within this programme, which reminds you of a line from Steve Aylett’s ‘Bigot Hall’ – ‘Ignorance runs like a well-drilled army.’”

Six Reasons to Say No to a Smart Meter   August 2nd, 2017 | The Telegraph

“The great smart meter revolution has faltered and households can choose, once again, to opt out and keep hold of their old-fashioned utility meters which require manual reading.

When they were introduced in 2009, smart meters were supposed to simplify the billing process and ensure readings were up to date and accurate. But the rollout has been plagued with problems – as explained below.

Now, according to research conducted by, one in five people do not want one.”

Commentary: I wonder what (independent) research in the US would find.

EU bank lends €1bn to rollout smart meters in Italy  Aug. 5th, 2017,  Priyanka Shrestha | Energy Live News

“The first tranche of €500 million (£451m) has been signed by the EU bank and Enel Group. Its power distributor e-distribuzione aims to install around 41 million new generation ‘2.0 meters’, of which 32 million will replace the current first-generation meters, while the remainder will be used for new connections and customer requests.”

Are smart meters to blame for house fires? July 27th, 2017  Sean Poulter | Daily Mail

“A rush to install energy smart meters in millions of homes has triggered fires and is putting families at risk, it is claimed.

“Evidence suggests some of the engineers hired to install the meters do not know what they are doing.

One employed by British Gas told a horrified couple: ‘Sorry, I’ve blown up your house.’

Details of two fires linked to the installation of smart meters were highlighted by the BBC Watchdog programme last night.” and

Are smart meters a FIRE hazard? BBC Watchdog investigation finds poorly fitted meters may have started blazes  June 27th, Zlata Rodionova, Digital Consumer Reporter  | The Sun

“One family claims engineer told them, ‘Sorry, I’ve blown up your house.’”

“POORLY fitted energy meters are believed to have started a number of fires in home, potentially putting millions of households at risk, an investigation has found.”

Pennsylvania Smart Meters: 

FOX43 Finds Out: is a doctor’s note enough to say no to a smart meter?  Aug. 2nd, 2017, BY Jackie de Tore

“Shepherd told her electric company, Met-Ed, that she had a medical issue and didn’t want a smart meter.

She sent over a letter from her doctor that recommends she not get a smart meter because of her injury.”

“Met-Rd confirmed officials were in contact with Shepherd over the issue and told FOX43 that ‘a medical letter does not exclude customers from the installation of a smart meter.’  The electric company eventually came in June and installed the meter.”

“The PUC tells us they have no jurisdiction to decide if a person can get a smart meter or not, since Pennsylvania law states the smart meter program must be rolled out by 2023.

If you believe a smart meter is causing you to have a health issue, you can file a formal complaint.”

Commentary: Unbelievable that even with a doctor’s note, PA still doesn’t allow a person to keep their analog meter!

Smart meters? Not these! Shabbat fears over water – New smart meters being rolled out across the country could technically lead to a breach of Shabbat.  Aug. 3rd, Simon Rocker | The JC

“Representatives of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations have met officials from a leading water company to discuss fears that new smart meters could lead to a breach of Shabbat.

An electrical expert has been brought in to determine whether new meters being installed in London by Thames Water contravene Jewish law, following concerns raised by members of the community over the past three months.”

Commentary: Religion wins out over health with smart meter opt outs. Compare this to the last entry about a doctor’s note in PA. I guess doctors’ notes don’t elicit PC responses.

Percentage Of Meters That Are Smart Meters By State – 2015

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electricity (electric power sales, revenue, and energy efficiency Form EIA-861 detailed data files, advanced meters, 2015), 


“For passwords to be resistant to the latest hacker technology it is possible they need to be at least 23 characters long. Edward Snowden says that an eight-character password can be cracked in under one second.” Lulu Friesdat – Full article here:

World’s Leading Hackers Explain Why You Don’t Want Huge Tech Companies Controlling Everything in Your House – The internet of things is a way to extract wealth from your every day life.  Aug. 2nd, 2017, Lulu Friesdat | Alternet

“The Internet of Sh*t Twitter feed rolls out information about these devices, tweeting horror stories about a woman stranded in the country in a smart rental car that won’t start without a network. The Twitter account relays a constant stream of weird products—like toilets that glow in the dark—and anecdotes of discomfort, like lightbulbs that have to be reprogrammed before they will turn off and let you go to bed. More dangerously, there is a phone that keeps rebooting when someone is trying to call the fire department.”

Congress to smart device makers: Your security sucks – Four senators propose the “Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act,” calling for minimum security standards for connected devices.  Alfred Ng, Aug. 2nd, 2017 | CNET

“Congress wants to fix the notorious security problems associated with the internet-of-things — at least for themselves. On Tuesday, Sens. Mark Warner, Cory Gardner, Ron Wyden and Steve Daines introduced the “Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act,” (PDF) a bill that would force tech companies to ramp up security if they want to sell connected devices to the federal government.”

Securing the Insecurities of the Internet of Things

Infographic: The challenge of cybersecurity in the IoT  Aug. 2nd, 2017 | Telefonico IoT Team

This is an informative infographic showing the true cost of cyber security for the IoT.

“Spending on cyber security to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021.”

Yes, your life-saving medical devices can be hacked   Aug. 3rd, 2017, Dan Tynan | Parallax

“When an Internet-connected device is implanted in your body to help you maintain your heart rate or regulate the insulin in your bloodstream, bad security can quite literally be hazardous to your health. At the 25th DefCon conference here last weekend, security researchers took on a new challenge: uncovering flaws in dozens of biomedical devices, from pacemakers and insulin pumps to glucose monitors and digital intravenous drips.”

Opposition unite in call for immediate review of HSE computer systems   Aug. 3, 2017 | Breaking News, IRELAND

“Opposition parties have called for a “full review” of the HSE’s computer systems after it emerged a dangerous flaw means up to 25,000 scans and x-rays for people with serious heart, cancer and other conditions may be inaccurate, reports Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Correspondent.”

“Thousands of patients scans have been affected leading to some receiving incorrect treatment.”

IoT security for healthcare is in critical condition – Medical devices lack many features and capabilities that help protect other network-attached devices from attack   Aug. 3rd, 2017, Jon Gold, Senior Writer | Network World

“IoT security is a headache, a mess and several other flavors of annoying for any enterprise, but in healthcare, it can be literally life and death. Compromising any connected device has two main consequences – one is to enlist devices into a botnet, like the security camera-capturing Mirai, and the other is to offer a passage deeper into any infrastructure the device is connected to.”

Securing industrial IoT: A trillion-dollar dilemma   Aug. 3rd, 2017, Neil Hamilton | IoT Agenda

“Businesses should be very concerned with industrial IoT security. Cybercrime is on the rise and could cost businesses upwards of $6 trillion annually by 2021, according to research firm Cybersecurity Ventures.”

Author also states quite explicitly, that a wired connection is far more secure and that challenges arise when “bridging the air gap between an operational technology (the machine) and an IT systems (the cloud)” [I.e. when being transmitted wirelessly to the Cloud.]



The FTC is watching when your children’s toys are listening  Aug. 12th, 2017, Michael Bahar | The Hill

“The recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) update to its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliance plan, is the latest in a series of regulatory moves to bring attention to the serious cyber security and data privacy issues latent in the ever-expanding internet of things and the ever-smartening supply chain.”

Roomba’s Next Big Step Is Selling Maps of Your Home to the Highest Bidder  July 24th, 2017,  Rhett Jones | Gizmodo

“The Roomba is generally regarded as a cute little robot friend that no one but dogs would consider to be a potential menace. But for the last couple of years, the robovacs have been quietly mapping homes to maximize efficiency. Now, the device’s makers plan to sell that data to smart home device manufacturers, turning the friendly robot into a creeping, creepy little spy.”

Commentary:  This is a clear example of how IoT “things” will be used to gather data for marketing, surveillance, and law enforcement.

Lawsuit Claims Disney Spied on Kids Playing Mobile Games and Sold Info to Advertisers  Aug. 5th, 2017, Dell Cameron |

“The Walt Disney Company is facing a lawsuit alleging it violated federal law aimed at protecting children’s online privacy. The company allegedly allowed ad tech companies to embed software in its apps, enabling the collection of children’s personal information.”

While you’re watching Disney’s films at the cinema, Disney can now watch you   July 26th, Ashley Rodriguez | QUARTZ

“Disney can now track your laughter, smiles, gasps, and frowns inside those darkened cinemas. The media conglomerate’s research arm is using machine learning to assess the audience’s reactions to films based on their facial expressions, it wrote in a new research paper (pdf). It uses something called factorized variational auto-encoders, or FVAEs, to predict how a viewer will react to the rest of a film after tracking their facial expressions for a few minutes.”