Why 5G doesn't cause Covid-19

People in Britain are burning down cellphone masts in a panicky reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, goaded by online trolls and ignorant TV presenters telling them that radio waves, especially at frequences used by 5G, might carry the virus.

As futile as it may be, Science Man Dan explains in a few minutes why 5G cannot carry viruses, and is as demonstrably safe as all other low-frequency radio waves floating about.

BONUS: the underlying rage here is at cellphones and social media and news and the scraping hollowness of life mediated by technology. Read the rest

UK TV presenter takes "radio waves cause Covid-19" conspiracy theory mainstream

Covid-19 is short for "coronavirus disease 2019" and is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV2, short for "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2". So we're all set that it's a virus, right? Oh no. British media is proving fertile ground for the idea that Covid-19 is caused or carried by 5G, which is to say, radio waves in the frequency range used by WiFi and cellphones. Here's Eamonn Holmes, a top morning TV presenter, promoting the conspiracy on the show he co-presents.

TV presenter Eamonn Holmes is at the centre of a controversy after casting doubt on media outlets that debunk the myth that 5G causes coronavirus.

"What I don't accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don't know it's not true," the ITV This Morning host said.

"It's very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative."

... Holmes made the remarks on Monday in a segment with the programme's consumer editor Alice Beer, who said the 5G theory, which has led a number of phone masts to be set alight or vandalised, was "not true and it's incredibly stupid".

It's an idea floating somewhere between conspiracy theory, sinophobia (Chinese telecom giant Huawei was recently awarded key 5G infrastructure contracts in the UK) and abject ignorance of everything science has thrown light on in recent centuries concerning illness, electromagnetism and the observable nature of reality.

Holmes doesn't believe the conspiracy theories himself, you see -- he's just asking questions, in the form of declarative statements. Read the rest

UK says OK to Huawei

The UK will allow China's Huawei to build what are described as 'non-core' elements of a British 5G network, but the Chinese company is not allowed to operate at what are defined by the government as sensitive sites. Read the rest

Schneier: "It's really too late to secure 5G networks"

Bruce Schneier's Foreign Policy essay in 5G security argues that we're unduly focused on the possibility of Chinese manufacturers inserting backdoors or killswitches in 5G equipment, and not focused enough on intrinsic weakness in a badly defined, badly developed standard wherein "near-term corporate profits prevailed against broader social good." Read the rest

With 5G, 2019 reached peak bullshit

Mitch Wagner writes, "My colleague Iain Morris takes a hammer to 5G hype in an article that's so, so good. The world went bonkers in 2019 and 5G hype is part of that. Yes, 5G is inevitable, Iain notes. And it will prove useful. But it's not the miracle technology it's being hyped as. " Read the rest

New 5G vulnerabilities could put phone users at risk

Security researchers at Purdue and U. of Iowa confirm what many security experts have long feared: there are serious security weaknesses in 5G that undermine the promised security and privacy protections. Read the rest

Cable is bullshit, and so is 5G: give me fiber or give me death!

America has some of the worst, most expensive broadband in the developed world, thanks to massive market concentration, grotesque regulatory capture, and systematic underinvestment in crumbling telcoms infrastructure. Read the rest

5G won't fix America's terrible broadband

5G cellular networks are able to transmit data at very high speeds, with incredible spectrum sharing that allows multiple 5G towers to operate in close proximity without their transmissions clobbering one another. Read the rest

EFF publishes an indispensable, plain-language guide to "cell-site simulators": the surveillance devices that track you via your phone

In 2012, the Wall Street Journal first reported on a mysterious cellphone surveillance tool being used by law-enforcement; years later, we learned that the origin of this report was an obsessive jailhouse lawyer who didn't believe that the cops had caught him the way they said they had. Read the rest

Vodafone sources claim Huawei created a "backdoor" for its home routers and network switching equipment and then lied about removing it

Vodafone discovered that the home routers that Huawei provided for its Italian residential broadband business had a "backdoor" -- an open telnet interface that could allow attackers to take over the router and surveil the user's network -- and after they complained to Huawei about it, Huawei released an update that they claimed removed the interface, but that this was a lie. Read the rest

5G wireless may mess up weather forecasts

While 5G mobile networks promise to provide tremendous wireless speeds with low latency, they may also make it more difficult for meteorologists to provide weather forecasts. That's because 5G's neighboring frequencies are used by satellites that detect water vapor in the atmosphere, data that informs weather models used by meteorologists. From Nature:

Astronomers, meteorologists and other scientists have long worked to share the spectrum with other users, sometimes shifting to different frequencies to prevent conflicts. But “this is the first time we’ve seen a threat to what I’d call the crown jewels of our frequencies — the ones that we absolutely must defend come what may”, says Stephen English, a meteorologist at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK.

They include the 23.8-gigahertz frequency, at which water vapour in the atmosphere emits a faint signal. Satellites, such as the European MetOp probes, monitor energy radiating from Earth at this frequency to assess humidity in the atmosphere below — measurements that can be taken during the day or at night, even if clouds are present. Forecasters feed these data into models to predict how storms and other weather systems will develop in the coming hours and days.

But a 5G station transmitting at nearly the same frequency will produce a signal that looks much like that of water vapour. “We wouldn’t know that that signal is not completely natural,” says Gerth.

Read the rest

Major vulnerability in 5G means that anyone with $500 worth of gear can spy on a wide area's mobile activity

Stingrays (AKA IMSI catchers) are a widespread class of surveillance devices that target cellular phones by impersonating cellular towers to them (they're also called "cell-site simulators"). Read the rest

America's cities sue FCC for handing billions in municipal subsidy to wireless carriers

The FCC has ordered American cities to hand discounted access to public resources for 5G access, and to operate a bureaucracy that rubberstamps applications to use city resources without delay. The FCC prices this subsidy at $2 billion. Read the rest

Trump administration is contemplating nationalizing the 5g infrastructure, but Ajit Pai is staunchly opposed

A leaked White House Powerpoint deck published by Axios reveals that some elements in the Trump administration are trying to sell a plan for the US government to build the nation's "5g" wireless infrastructure, hardened against Chinese surveillance and attacks, and then lease access to the private telcoms sector; the network architecture could then be reproduced and given to US allies to help them defend themselves against Chinese attacks. Read the rest