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Electromagnetic hypersensitivity named a Challenge for Europe in Digitalisation
Belgium Created: 13 Jan 2022
Social innovation, networking and digital communication.

Rapporteur: Bernardo Hernández Bataller


The scope of the EU Digital Agenda covers research and innovation, including social innovation, i.e. new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds, ext end and strengthen civil society. Social innovation is essential for society's development and significantly improves its capacity for action. It involves numerous stakeholders and different forms of
interactions that can be facilitated and enhanced by the use of new ICTs.

Gist of the opinion [1]

The EESC concludes that social innovation and collaborative networks must become tools to boost participation of the public and civil society in general in designing and managing EU policies that
strengthen more dire ct democracy. Social innovation, based on the new technologies, can play an important role in creating new skilled jobs by supporting projects seeking to set up new and
innovative businesses. Strengthening training is also essential, within the educational system for young people as in a form of an ongoing training that qualifies workers to use ICTs on the labour
market. The EESC calls for social innovation and the use of new technologies; social networks and collaborative work for implementing of technical solutions that help people with disabilities.
It furthermore calls on the EU to encourage and finance the framing and implementation of projects, conceived by citizens and implemented via social networks and collaborative working, which
encompass actions of general interest.

The European Commission must launch a clear and concrete policy on social innovation and public access to the new technologies that triggers initiatives bringing shared benefits to the population, in
line with the European Commission' s Social Investment Package. Essentially, a package of investments is needed to strengthen social innovation on the basis of technological development,
the promotion of collaborative research and access to new knowledge, and institutional strengthening through the direct democracy made possible by these new network participation and
digital communication tools.

1 Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on Social innovation, networking and digitial communication (own-initiative opinion).

See page 85 of the linked PDF document:
Click here to view the source article.
Source: European Economic and Social Committee, 12 Jan 2022

Europe's telcos want U.S. tech giants to help fund network costs
Belgium Created: 29 Nov 2021
US tech giants should bear some of the costs of developing Europe's telecoms networks because they use them so heavily, chief executives of Deutsche Telekom (DTEGnDE), Vodafone (VODL) and 11 other major European telecoms companies said on Monday.

The call by the CEOs comes as the telecoms industry faces massive investments for 5G, fibre and cable networks to cope with data and cloud services provided by Netflix (NFLX.O) and Google's (GOOGL.O) YouTube and Facebook (FB.O).

Investments in Europe's telco sector rose to 52.5 billion euros ($59.4 billion) last year, a six-year high.

"A large and increasing part of network traffic is generated and monetized by big tech platforms, but it requires continuous, intensive network investment and planning by the telecommunications sector," the CEOs said in a joint statement seen by Reuters.

"This model – which enables EU citizens to enjoy the fruits of the digital transformation – can only be sustainable if such big tech platforms also contribute fairly to network costs," they said.

The CEOs did not mention any tech firms by name, but Reuters understands that U.S.-listed giants such as Netflix and Facebook are companies they have in mind.

Signatories to the letter include the CEOs of Telefonica (TEF.MC), Orange (ORAN.PA), KPN (KPN.AS), BT Group (BT.L), Telekom Austria (TELA.VI), Vivacom, Proximus (PROX.BR), Telenor (TEL.OL), Altice Portugal, Telia Company (TELIA.ST) and Swisscom (SCMN.S).

The CEOs also criticised high spectrum prices and auctions, used by EU governments as cash cows, saying that these artificially force unsustainable entrants into the market.

EU lawmakers' attempts to scrap surcharges on intra-EU calls also got short shrift from the CEOs who see this sector as a source of revenue from business users.

"We estimate that they would forcibly remove over 2 billion euros revenues from the sector in a 4 year period, which is equivalent to 2.5% of the sector's yearly investment capacity for mobile infrastructure," the companies said.

EU lawmakers have to discuss their proposal with EU countries before it can be adopted and may struggle to find agreement.

($1 = 0.8839 euros)
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Source: Reuters, Foo Yun Chee, 29 Nov 2021

5G – EESC urges Commission to further assess impact on human health and the environment
Belgium Created: 5 Nov 2021
The October plenary of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion recognising the value of electronic communications infrastructure while highlighting the potential risks.

The European Commission should move forward in the process of assessing the multi-sectoral impact of new 5G and 6G technologies. Tools and measures are needed to address risks and vulnerabilities. In the opinion drafted by Dumitru Fornea and adopted by the assembly in the October plenary session, the EESC takes a firm stand, and notes that social, health and environmental issues need to be examined, involving citizens and all relevant actors, in spite of the fact that the debate on the deployment of 5G networks has turned into a controversial, political discussion.

Speaking on the sidelines of the plenary, Mr Fornea said: "Rapid digitisation and development of electronic communications has a strong impact on the economy and society at large. Through the responsible use of these technologies, humanity has a historic chance to build a better society. Nevertheless, without due diligence and democratic control, our communities might face serious challenges in the administration of these technological systems in the future."

The pandemic has shown that electronic communications infrastructure plays an important role in society and can greatly improve citizens' quality of life, with a direct impact on fighting poverty. For example, 5G technology presents an enormous opportunity to improve human health services through the development of telemedicine and by improving access to medical care.

However, potential danger needs to be continuously assessed. For this reason, the EESC recommends allocating European and national funds to more in-depth multidisciplinary research and impact studies focused on both humans and the environment, and to disseminating these results in order to educate the public and decision-makers.

In addition, the Committee proposes that the European Commission consults citizens and civil society organisations and, through the involvement of all relevant public institutions, feeds into the decision-making process with respect to the societal and ecological impact of mobile electronic communications.

In the EESC's view, the EU needs an independent European body with up-to-date methodologies, in line with the current technological context and adopting a multidisciplinary approach, in order to establish guidelines for the protection of the general public and workers in the event of exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic radiation.

All radio frequency transmission stations and the frequency bands on which they operate should be inventoried and this information published for better territorial management and the protection of citizens' interests, particularly those of vulnerable groups, such as children, pregnant women, chronically ill persons, the elderly and electro-hypersensitive people.

Electromagnetic pollution should be monitored on the basis of a rigorous interinstitutional and interdisciplinary scientific approach, supported by modern measuring equipment that properly highlights and evaluates the cumulative effects over longer periods of time. Although there is no recognised scientific data showing a negative impact of 5G on human health, there should be constant monitoring of social, health and environmental aspects, in line with the precautionary principle.
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Source: European Economic and Social Committee, 10 Oct 2021

EU seminar: Health and environmental impacts of 5G, 7 Dec.
Belgium Created: 3 Dec 2020
The imminent introduction of 5G across the EU is expected to bring new opportunities for citizens and businesses, through faster browsing, streaming, downloading, as well as better connectivity. A new stage in the evolution of our increasingly interconnected world. 5G wireless communication offers numerous advantages, for instance to medical research, which will benefit from having such extremely high gigabit connectivity. 5G is the foundation technology for the Internet of Things (IoT), where machines will communicate with each other. However, 5G may also bring new threats to human and animal health and to the environment.

In order to discuss these issues, the STOA Panel is organising this virtual workshop. The workshop will be structured around three main questions, which the panellists have been asked to address:

Q1. Is the 2020 International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) risk assessment of the health and environmental effects of electromagnetic fields, sufficiently robust and reliable for protective policymaking?

Q2. Are the ICNIRP recommended exposure limits for electromagnetic fields, which are based mainly on short term tissue heating effects, sufficiently protective to avoid harm from lower level, longer term exposures that are below the ICNIRP limits.
Q3. Is there enough independent research into the health and environmental effects of 5G, which would help to reassure the public and help minimise future liabilities?



- Michèle Rivasi, MEP and STOA Panel Member

- Ivo Hristov, MEP and STOA Panel Member

10:05-11:05 - HEALTH IMPACT OF 5G

- Fiorella Belpoggi, Ramazzini Institute, Bologna, Italy

- Elisabeth Cardis, Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Spain

- Rodney Croft, International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)

- Franz Karcher, DG Sante, European Commission


- Arno Thielens, Ghent University - imec, Ghent, Belgium

- Gerard Ledoigt, Clermont Université, Clermont-Ferrand, France


- Q&A from the audience

- Ivo Hristov, MEP and STOA Panel Member

- Michèle Rivasi, MEP and STOA Panel Member

Moderator: David Gee, Institute of Environment, Health, and Societies, Brunel University, London, UK

The information on how to join and follow the event will be available closer to the event date.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: EU Parliament, 03 Dec 2020

European Greens question ICNIRP standards, call for new public body to look at 5G exposure
Belgium Created: 24 Jun 2020
Green parties in the European Parliament have published a report calling for the EU to distance itself from Icnirp, the international group for standards on RF exposure. The report claims Icnirp's independence cannot be guaranteed as the organisation lacks official oversight, and the parties called for a new public regulatory body to be set up ahead of the widespread roll-out of 5G networks.

The EU's regulations setting limits on exposure to electro-magentic radiation from wireless networks and equipment are largely based on the recommendations from Icnirp. However, the Green MEPs claim the health risks are too great to be left to private organisation like this.

They drew parallels with asbestos, tobacco, leaded petrol climate change and pesticides - all areas where lobbying, a lack of truly independent research and economic interests left the health risks under-estimated for too long. They see a similar problem for non-ionising radiation.

They pointed to research published in the Lancet in December 2018 showing that 68 percent of the 2,266 studies examined found a significant biological or health effect from non-ionising radiation. While this does not confirm an actual risk to health, it does provide enough scientific evidence to doubt the claims over no effects from exposure to the electro-magnetic fields, according to the report.

The MEPs recommend setting up an independent public authority to address the matter, which could eventually be integrated into the WHO.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Telecom Paper, 24 Jun 2020

Radiation concerns halt Brussels 5G development, for now
Belgium Created: 1 Apr 2019
Plans for a pilot project to provide high-speed 5G wireless internet in Brussels have been halted due to fears for the health of citizens, according to reports.

In July, the government concluded an agreement with three telecom operators to relax the strict radiation standards in Brussels. But according to the Region, it is now impossible to estimate the radiation from the antennas required for the service.

"I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected, 5G or not," Environment minister Céline Fremault (CDH) told Bruzz. "The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt," she added.

A pilot project is not feasible with the current radiation standards, and Fremault told Bruzz that she does not intend to make an exception.

The Brussels region has particularly strict radiation standards for telecom applications. The standard of 6 volts per metre has already led to problems in the past with providing fast mobile internet via 4G in the capital.

Last week, the various governments in Belgium once again failed to reach agreement on the auctioning of the 5G licences. The file remains stuck on the distribution of the proceeds. It will be up to the next government to handle the proposal, said Telecom Minister Philippe De Backer (Open VLD) last week.
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Source: Brussels Times, 01 Apr 2019

European Ombudsman on the EESC / Richard Adams conflict of interest scandal
Belgium Created: 24 Nov 2016
Recommendation of the European Ombudsman concerning the alleged failure by the European Economic and Social Committee to ensure that a member declared all relevant interests (inquiry into complaints 500/2015/ PHP, 561/2015/ PHP, 570/2015/ PHP, 577/2015/ PHP, 619/2015/ PHP, 635/2015/ PHP and 650/2015/ PHP).

*SNIP* view the case files via the source link below...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: European Ombudsman, 24 Nov 2016

European Court ruling may kill off free Wi-Fi
Belgium Created: 2 Oct 2016
In short: a copyright ruling in a case of music shared via an open Wi-Fi network has the potential to make hosting free Wi-Fi access points too cumbersome, as the ruling demands that access to such Wi-Fi networks be restricted by registering all users and issuing separate passwords for all.


European Court Allows Copyright Owners to Demand Open Wifi Networks be Password Protected

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently announced its decision in Sony v McFadden with important consequences for open wireless in the European Union. The court held that providers of open wifi are not liable for copyright violations committed by others, but can be ordered to prevent further infringements by restricting access to registered users with passwords. EFF reported on the legal aspects of the case last year and collaborated on an open letter to the ECJ on the costs to economic growth, safety and innovation of a password lockdown.

Free wifi is rare in Germany compared with other EU countries due to legal uncertainty generated by the doctrine of Störerhaftung, a form of indirect liability for the actions of others, which has deterred cafes, municipalities and others from offering free connectivity. Many in Germany hoped that the McFadden case would remove these doubts, but it is now clear that a legislative fix is needed instead.
A Community Wireless Advocate in Court

McFadden, a community wireless activist with Freifunk, offered free wifi from his shop. He received a cease and desist letter from Sony Music after a user shared music from his network, and they also demanded that he pay the lawyer fees for this letter. McFadden successfully argued he was a service provider under the national implementation of the E-Commerce Directive and a 'mere conduit' for his users' traffic. This shielded him from direct liability for his users’ copyright violations but not from Störerhaftung - a liability attaching to any party in a position to ‘terminate or prevent’ the infringements. As a result copyright owners had a claim for injunctive relief against McFadden.

The German court proposed three enforcement options: shutting the network, monitoring all traffic, or ending user anonymity through a registration and password system. According to the ECJ only the last of these is consistent with EU law, but such a ‘solution’ will introduce major administrative overhead for providers. Worse still, they could also be saddled with the legal costs incurred in seeking the injunction. In the face of such burdens many operators will shut down...
A Solution in Sight?

The ECJ found that password based restrictions are consistent with EU law, not that they are required by it. The other options, however, would have would have entailed breaches of the E-Commerce rules and fundamental rights. The good news is that this means a domestic solution compatible with EU law is possible. Ideally German legislators would abolish Störerhaftung altogether. A previous attempt at legal reform last June was supposed [German] to deal with this but is regarded as flawed.

An alternative, less comprehensive approach, would be to shift the legal costs of the injunction to the party requesting it. If the bills are paid by the wifi owner, there is an incentive for lawyers to launch actions against every open wifi node in the country. Copyright trolling has history in Germany, where lawyers have leveraged the 'formal system of notice' for cease and desist letters (abmahnungen) into a shakedown system against millions for alleged copyright infringement online. But if the rightsholders must cover their own costs, orders will only be sought against nodes which are a serious source of infringements.
Universal Access: Forever Deferred?

A day before the McFadden verdict, the head of the EU Commission outlined a goal of free wifi throughout Europe by 2020. This will never be achieved by top-down means alone, but will require a user-based movement of connection sharing. The ECJ did not address the situation of individuals who make wifi available without economic motive, but German activists are protecting themselves against risks by technical means. Freifunk, for example, routes user traffic through a virtual private network so that it appears to originate in the Netherlands or Sweden, countries where Störerhaftung does not exist.

Universal access to the net will ultimately require curbing the power of a copyright industry which sees free networks as a threat to their property, something to be controlled and monitored rather than opened up and shared. In March, the Advocate General, whose reports are intended to guide the ECJ's decisions, rejected the password lockdown approach as inconsistent with a fair balance of the competing fundamental rights involved. He continued:

"any general obligation to make access to a Wi-Fi network secure, as a means of protecting copyright on the Internet, could be a disadvantage for society as a whole and one that could outweigh the potential benefits for rightholders."

The ECJ did not follow his advice, and now it's up to legislators to fix what's broken.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation, Alan Toner, 26 Sep 2016

Student measuring Radiation in Brussels city centre arrested in massive security alert
Belgium Created: 22 Jul 2016
Massive security alert in Brussels is revealed to be a false alarm after it emerges suspected suicide bomber with wires hanging from his coat is actually a student measuring radiation.

Police in Belgium held a man at gunpoint after he was acting suspiciously
He was also wearing a winter coat that reportedly had wires coming from it
Man was cornered by officers and surrounding shops were evacuated
It has since emerged the man was a student studying radiation in the city
Local media reports he will face charges to recover costs for the operation

A massive security alert in Brussels turned out to be a false alarm after it emerged the man police suspected of being a suicide bomber was actually a student measuring radiation.

The Belgian capital was on lock-down this afternoon while police cornered the man at gunpoint after he was reportedly spotted wearing a heavy winter coat with wires protruding from it.

A huge operation was launched near Place de la Monnaie in the centre of the city after the man was seen acting suspiciously.

After the mix-up, the man was arrested and could be faced with the policing costs.

He drew the attention of a security guard for wearing the winter coat which was said to have had cables hanging from it with the temperature hitting 32C in Brussels.

A spokesman for the city's police force Christian de Coninck told Levif the man was actually studying the waves and radiation in the city.

He added: 'As the person was very passive and very suspect during the operation, the police zone decided to bring civil actions to recover the costs incurred in the operation.'

The individual was arrested by special units and taken to the police for interviewing.

Pictures from the scene had shown two armed police officers pointing their guns at the man while he placed his hands on his head.

A bomb disposal robot was also understood to have moved in close to the scene.

A Brussels police spokeswoman confirmed at the time that the situation was under control but that the man had not yet being arrested.

The man had not made any threats and is speaking to officers.

Christian De Coninck of Brussels Police told local TV: 'We got a call about someone acting suspiciously. Someone with a heavy winter coat - in these temperatures it's very suspicious.

'And there were wires coming out of the coat too.

´We didn't take any risks. The person was stopped and kept at a distance. We are now waiting for more information from the bomb disposal unit which is at the scene now and then we'll know more.'

Shops nearby were evacuated and several streets were closed as a security cordon was set up.

Brussels is already on high alert and the streets of the city are packed as Belgium prepares to celebrate its national day tomorrow

The incident comes just months after an attack at Brussels airport and on the city's metro in which 32 people were killed and dozens more injured.

The attacks caused shockwaves in a Belgium already on edge after it emerged that many of the ISIS jihadis involved in the November Paris onslaught which killed 130 people had grown up together in Brussels.

Meanwhile Belgium is the main source per head of population of jihadi recruits going from the European Union to fight with ISIS in Syria, causing deep concern that they will return home battle-hardened and even more radicalised.

See video at link:
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Daily Mail, Jennifer Newton and Gareth Davies, 20 Jul 2016

International Scientific Declaration on EHS & MCS Brussels 2015
Belgium Created: 4 Sep 2015
Following the fifth Paris Appeal congress, which took place on the 18th of May, 2015, the attending European, American and Canadian scientists unanimously decided to create a working group and to write a Common International Declaration to request an official recognition of these new diseases and of their sanitary consequences worldwide.

The declaration calls upon national and international bodies and institutions and particularly the WHO, for taking urgently their responsibility for recognizing electrohypersensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity as real diseases, including them in the International Classification of Diseases.

This International Declaration also asks national and international institutions to adopt simple precautionary measures of prevention, to inform populations and requires the appointment of real independent expert groups to evaluate these sanitary risks in total scientific objectivity, which is not the case today.

Download the press release:
and the statement document:
Source: Appel de Paris 2015, Dr. Carpenter / Dr. Hardell / Prof. Belpomme, 04 Sep 2015

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