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Tech reporter stranded after driving out of cellphone range in app-powered smart car
Canada Created: 20 Feb 2020
'There was a lot of confusion over where to tow the useless car to get it to work,' says Kari Paul.

Kari Paul and her partner were planning on driving into the northern California wildness for a Valentine's Day weekend getaway. But when they left the city behind, they left behind a strong cellphone reception — and ended up stranded on a remote highway.

The couple were driving in a smart car they rented through the car-sharing app, Gig Car. When the app lost a stable connection with the car, it eventually shut the vehicle down.

Paul happens to be a technology reporter and wrote about her ordeal. Gig Car has since refunded her trip and added a credit to her account.

In a statement, Gig Car's parent company, American Automobile Association, told As It Happens they "deeply apologize" for what happened — adding, "we are committed to improving our service and customer care, and will assess this situation for learnings."

Paul spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about her ordeal and what improvements she thinks need to be made to Gig Car and similar car-sharing apps.

First of all, walk us through how this car-sharing app works, at least in theory?

It's pretty convenient. You just download the app on your phone and then upload, I think, a driver's license and some of your payment information.

Then you can just find on the map a car parked and unlock it with your phone and then drive away.

How often have you used it?

I've probably used it 40 or 50 times. I use it pretty often.

OK. What happened on this trip?

We ended up going to a kind of remote area about three hours north of San Francisco and we ended up getting a bit stuck without cell service to update the car's software.

Why does that matter?

Basically, a phone unlocks the car using a combination of cell service and Bluetooth. So when you're out of cell range it can be difficult to unlock the car.

Usually, you can call Gig and have them remotely unlock it. But if you have been in a range out of cell service for a long enough time they lose the ability to remotely do anything to the car.

Well, then what happens when your car isn't able to talk to its owner?

In our case, it wouldn't start. We had gone down to the beach on a little hike for about 30 minutes. And when we got back the car would not start. It said we didn't have a key, I guess because it couldn't sense that the cell phone, which works with the key, was near it.

We called Gig [and] asked them what to do. They said we had to be towed. We ended up waiting a couple hours for a tow truck to come get us. And there was a lot of confusion over where to tow the useless car to get it to work.

You have to tow it to someplace where there is cell connection so the car can re-establish a connection with its master?

Yes, exactly. So it had to be towed to an area with cellphone service.

So we initially had it towed to our AirBnb because we had Wi-Fi there and thought that would be enough to start the car, having our phones securely connected to Wi-Fi.

But it turned out it actually needed to be towed about 30 miles (48 kilometres) away to the nearest town with cell service. So, it did involve two tow trucks and a lot of time on the customer service lines.

OK. So, I don't understand. You were on the customer service line on your cellphone?

Correct. We had enough cellphone service to call customer service and get this figured out — luckily, because otherwise we would have been completely stranded.

They were unable to ping the car because, I don't know, they hadn't updated, or synced, the software in 24 hours.

So you had hours of this ordeal. Two tow trucks. How many phone calls did you have to make?

More than 20. It was a lot of back and forth.

What does Gig Car say about this? I mean, is this a glitch in its system, or is it just a glitch in your experience, or what?

I think in this case, it's the combination of it being so remote. I mean, it's a 40-mile (64-kilometre) stretch of land with no cell service and about one tow truck serving the whole community there.

What Gig also told me is that they offer RFID (Radio-frequency identification) technology cards, similar to Zipcar and other car rental services, where you kind of scan the card to get into the car. So in the case that you don't have cell service or Bluetooth, you can still get into your car.

We did get a statement from Gig Car saying that they deeply apologize for your experience. They did mention this Gig card that you could get and that this would get around this. So could you have avoided all of this if you'd had one of those cards?

In theory this card could have helped me avoid the situation.

It also seemed to be an issue with the software and the car being unable to think due to the lack of cell service. I think the other issue here is that I'm a tech reporter. I'm pretty tech savvy. I've used this app 40 or 50 times, as I said. I've never heard of this card.

So I think it's also kind of a user experience issue and that the app does not tell you about this card. I know that Gig said they're going to start making it a bit clearer that if you go anywhere out of town you should get one of these cards in advance.

But it does take two weeks to ship to your house. So I think it's a bit at odds with their 'hop in and go' advertising language. So, I think maybe that's why it's not stressed so much on their website.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: CBC, Chloe Shantz-Hilkes and John McGill, 19 Feb 2020

Mississauga to Examine Safety Concerns Surrounding 5G and Wi-Fi
Canada Created: 17 Sep 2019
For the vast majority of Canadians (and people all over the world, to be fair), technology is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity that people believe (for good reason) makes life easier and better.

But while few would argue that our current levels of connectivity are a bad thing, some local residents are questioning whether experts are being cautious enough when it comes to grand-scale Wi-Fi and 5G rollouts.

While Health Canada has determined that Wi-Fi poses little risk to those who are exposed to it, some residents and activists doubt the research into the relatively new technology is as fulsome as it should be. Some residents are also concerned about the eventual introduction of 5G cellular network technology, arguing that it could potentially harm Canadians—especially children.

Since 5G is quite new (and not yet available in Canada), the Region of Peel, which is comprised of Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, is set to receive a report documenting the health and safety impacts of the technology in the fall.

At a recent regional council meeting, Caledon resident Cristina Zampiero called on council to explore 5G technology further, while also encouraging the region to consider removing Wi-Fi (but not the internet, computers or modern technological devices) from schools.

She also suggested that cell phones should be hardwired, turned off or set to airplane mode while in schools to prevent exposure to current 4G technology.

"Today, I’m here to talk about 5G and wireless health dangers and removing wireless from our schools," she began.

"Science and medicine are warning that wireless radiation causes damage to DNA. The scientific debate is over the 4G levels to which we are currently exposed. Next-generation 5G will exponentially increase these [electromagnetic] fields," she said.

Zampiero told that her concerns over Wi-Fi grew when she became a mother, and she's been researching the topic ever since.

"When I gave birth, I became concerned. I had a kid and thought 'uh oh, I have to put this kid in school and it's microwave soup there'. Sending those waves through the air has its drawbacks," she said.

Zampiero said she has her doubts about Health Canada's conclusions on wireless technology in its Safety Code 6 guidelines, and she's not alone.

Over the past few years, organizations such as Canadians For Safe Technology (C4ST) have been sounding the alarm about illnesses that some health experts have linked to wireless technology, such as electrical sensitivity.

Prior to a recent Wireless Technology Symposium at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, doctors and scientists appeared at Queen's Park to encourage the provincial government to "take steps to protect public health" before the roll-out of wireless 5G.

"My clinic is already assessing patients from across Ontario who are sensitive to microwave radiation from their wireless devices including cell phones, Wi-Fi, and an increasing number of smart appliances," said Dr. Riina Bray, medical director of the Environmental Health Clinic at Women's College Hospital, in a statement released in May 2019.

"We expect wireless 5G to add to this burden."

While it's not yet clear if wireless technology can indeed trigger malignant tumours in people, the World Health Organization (WHO) has published some literature on electromagnetic hypersensitivity (the illness that doctors expressed concern over at the Wireless Technology Symposium).

The WHO says that Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (or EHS) is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms, which suffers attribute to exposure to electromagnetic fields.

According to the WHO, common symptoms include skin irritation such as redness, tingling, and burning sensations and general fatigue (tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances.

The WHO says the collection of symptoms is not part of any recognized syndrome, which indicates the illness isn't likely to be caused by a different ailment.

As for how many people suffer from the illness, the WHO says a survey of occupational medical centres estimated the prevalence of EHS to be a few individuals per million in the population. That said, the organization notes that a survey of self-help groups yielded much higher estimates and that approximately 10 per cent of reported cases of EHS were considered severe.

C4ST says that scientists from dozens of countries are now warning their governments about the emerging health problems reportedly associated with wireless radiation, claiming that daily human exposure to microwave radiation is already more than a trillion times higher than it was before cell phones.

C4ST also quoted Dr. Anthony Miller, professor emeritus with the University of Toronto and adviser to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, who said that "many scientists worldwide now believe that radiofrequency radiation should be elevated to a Class One human carcinogen, on the same list as cigarettes, x-rays, and asbestos."

But is wireless technology dangerous?

At this juncture, Health Canada says that Wi-Fi is safe.

It's also important to note that while both Wi-Fi and 4G/5G use wireless technology to power devices, they're not quite the same thing.

Wi-Fi is the second most prevalent form of wireless technology in Canada next to cell phones, and it allows devices such as computers, smartphones, and video game consoles to communicate data wirelessly.

Health Canada acknowledges that some people are concerned that radiation from Wi-Fi equipment could cause health problems and that children may be at particular risk in school environments, as Wi-Fi equipment emits radiofrequency fields (RF).

But the agency says that if the technology is emitted at recommended levels, it's safe and doesn't need to be avoided.

According to Health Canada, the RF energy given off by Wi-Fi is a type of non-ionizing radiation. Unlike ionizing radiation (such as the kind emitted by x-ray machines), RF energy from Wi-Fi equipment and other wireless devices cannot break chemical bonds.

"While some of the RF energy emitted by Wi-Fi is absorbed in your body, the amount largely depends on how close your body is to a Wi-Fi enabled device and the strength of the signal," Health Canada says.

"Unlike cellular phones where the transmitter is in close proximity to the head and much of the RF energy that is absorbed is deposited in a highly localized area, RF energy from Wi-Fi devices is typically transmitted at a much greater distance from the human body. This results in very low average RF energy absorption levels in all parts of the body, much like exposure to AM/FM radio signals."

When it comes to cell phones (4G notwithstanding), Health Canada does say that some precautions should be taken.

According to Health Canada, there are a small number of epidemiology studies that have shown brain cancer rates may be elevated in long-term/heavy cell phone users—but not every study has confirmed this finding.

Health Canada says that in 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RF energy as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

The health agency says that, since the jury is out, more research into potential health concerns associated with cell phones is required.

"The IARC classification of RF energy reflects the fact that some limited evidence exists that RF energy might be a risk factor for cancer. However, the vast majority of scientific research to date does not support a link between RF energy exposure and human cancers. At present, the evidence of a possible link between RF energy exposure and cancer risk is far from conclusive and more research is needed to clarify this 'possible' link. Health Canada is in agreement with both the World Health Organization and IARC that additional research in this area is warranted," Health Canada's website reads.

Zampiero told that few people know that even cell phone manufacturers provide safety warnings to consumers.

"People are addicted to their phones, but every cell phone's instruction manual says to keep it 15 mm away from your body."

As far as 5G goes, Health Canada says that although the upcoming technology will function as a significant evolution of today's 4G LTE wireless networks, the country's current safety protocol is appropriate for the rollout.

"5G will provide the infrastructure to allow for more data and connectivity, the Internet of things with billions of connected devices, and tomorrow's innovations in various fields such as healthcare, public safety, transportation, agriculture, and smart cities. 5G will operate in both the lower frequency spectrum (below 6 GHz) as well as at higher frequencies called millimetre wave spectrum (above 6 GHz)," Health Canada said on its website.

Health Canada says the current Canadian limits already cover the frequency ranges that will be used by 5G devices and antenna installations.

"Similar to current wireless devices and installations, 5G devices will need to meet RF exposure requirements before they can be sold in Canada. Antenna systems operators using 5G technology will continue to have the same RF exposure compliance obligations. Furthermore, compliance with RF exposure requirements will continue to be an ongoing obligation," Health Canada says.

But while many experts have declared the technology safe, residents such as Zampiero fear that Wi-Fi and 4G/5G technology is today's cigarette—thought to be harmless now, but declared dangerous much later.

When presenting to council, Zampiero mentioned a study conducted by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services that found that cell phone radiofrequency radiation was associated with the development of malignant tumours in rodents.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) study found that that high exposure to RFR (900 MHz) used by cell phones was associated with clear evidence of tumours in the hearts of male rats, some evidence of tumours in the brains of male rats and some evidence of tumours in the adrenal glands of male rats.

While the results are concerning on their face, the study authors said that some 5G waves aren't expected to penetrate the body as deeply.

"As the 5G network is implemented, some of the signals will use the same lower frequencies as the older technology previously studied by NTP. Additionally, concern has been raised because the 5G network will also use higher frequencies, up to 60,000 MHz, thereby exposing wireless consumers to a much broader spectrum of frequencies," the study reads.

"The higher frequencies, known as millimeter waves, can rapidly transmit enormous amounts of data with increased network capacity compared to current technologies. Millimeter waves do not travel as far and do not penetrate the body as deep as the wavelengths from the lower frequencies. Millimeter waves are likely to penetrate no deeper than the skin, as opposed to the lower frequencies that have been shown to penetrate at least three to four inches into the human body."

Zampiero is disputing Health Canada's assurances that wireless technology is safe, as the results from the NTP study contradict its conclusions.

"Health Canada standards are wrong," she told council.

"The study repeatedly found evidence of cancer. What about babies, children and pregnant women? Where is the accommodation for those with electrosensitivity sickness? It’s not enough to routinely meet concerns [by saying] emissions are well within Health Canada guidelines. These guidelines indicate acceptable radiation levels which are orders of magnitude above what has been demonstrated as safe when non-thermal effects are considered."

Zampiero argues that Health Canada’s Code 6 is not protective and that in countries such as India and Italy, some organizations have taken steps to hardwire fibre optic cables in certain facilities.

She's been calling on other facilities—especially educational ones—to consider eliminating Wi-Fi and 4G while keeping technology accessible in the classroom.

"Hardwiring is safer, faster and more secure and would avoid wirelessly radiating millions of unsuspecting citizens. The writing is on the wall, please pause the 5G rollout. Would you truthfully want to live next to a cell tower given the choice? Cell towers placed too close to people violate our human right to protect our health," she told council.

Zampiero told that while she's dedicated to increasing awareness of potential dangers associated with wireless technology, she is not anti-technology.

"Kids need their tech, but they don't need it radiating on them. If you plug it in, it doesn't emit. Kids are amazing at tech and they're more evolved, but I don't want to send my baby to a school with a Wi-Fi router."

School boards have been quick to adapt to new technology, but some educational institutions have decided to hardwire devices to err on the side of caution—including the Caledon East Children's Centre daycare.

"Cristina did a presentation to our board of directors a few weeks ago. After that, the board took a vote to temporarily hardwire the office as opposed to using the Wi-Fi and do so on a trial basis and see what impact it has on us," said Brenda McNairn, executive director of the facility.

McNairn told that the transition was relatively simple.

"We had to buy an ethernet cable and adapter. Each classroom in the daycare used to access their tablets via Wi-Fi. They don’t use it a lot for programming within the classroom for the kids. The impact on the classroom was fairly minimal," she said.

Back in the summer, McNairn said the facility was in the process of getting one computer hardwired.

"We’re a small business, so it was a minimal impact—$120 to buy a cable and adapter. This is a small change for us. We decided to do this on a trial basis to see if it was possible."

McNairn said her facility decided to make the change because it wasn't difficult to mitigate potential risk to children.

"It’s our responsibility to care for other’s people children and we don’t want to put these kids at unnecessary risk. The research is in its early stages, but Cristina presented the board with a lot of data and research from countries around the world who have taken that step back to be hardwired."

McNairn also acknowledged that the decision was an easier one to make in a smaller facility with fewer children.

"A school with 2,000 children might be a different story. Our clients are 15 months to six years of age, so we don’t have computer stations that the kids use on a regular basis. We were able to hardwire the office."

McNairn said the decision garnered praise from a parent who was relieved to see the daycare agree to hardwire.

"We did have one parent say that she made the decision to not put her child in full-day kindergarten because we had made the decision to hardwire, so that’s a big impact on one family," she said.

While Zampiero believes Canada needs to act, her campaign to have Wi-Fi removed from schools and 5G studied more aggressively is taking off at the local level—hence her appeal to regional council to demand more from experts.

"This is the most important function of our government since Wi-Fi causes cancer. It does not belong in our schools because kids absorb 75 per cent more radiation. There are laws banning it in Australia, India, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Israel, Cyprus and Finland. Please regulate tighter restrictions," she said.

"You did it for peanut allergies. To not respect developments in science and warnings of top scientific experts would seem crazy. Would you have your child ingest something that hundreds of peer-reviewed studies say is harmful just last week?"

During the presentation, Zampiero suggested that wireless technology could be "the greatest environmental and safety threat of our time," adding that governments might be slow to act on warnings because telecommunications companies are such economic behemoths (a concept explored in this 2018 UK Guardian article about the link between cell phone use and cancer).

"Please don’t tell me it’s not within your jurisdiction. The two takeaways are our kids need to learn about technology from safely hard-wired devices, not wireless. With respect to 4 and 5G, appropriate testing must happen before it’s allowed to roll out."

During her presentation, Zampiero referred to the Oregon legislature's recent decision to pass a bill to study the effects of Wi-Fi radiation on children—a move that she believes to be a positive one.

After Zampiero's presentation, councillors said that she's not the only one asking questions about the safety of 5G and wireless technology.

"This is a question that has been vexing residents for quite some time and as the communications sector continues to evolve and move towards 5G technologies, the kinds of questions you are posing here today, I can attest are intensifying," said Peel Regional and Brampton City Councillor Paul Vicente.

Vicente asked Dr. Jessica Hopkins, a medical officer of health for the Region of Peel, for an update on the report slated to come to council in the fall.

"Staff are currently conducting a review of the health evidence related to this issue and we will report back in the early fall to regional council on that," Hopkins told council, adding that staff had been in touch with other public health agencies, including Health Canada.

Vicente also questioned some studies linking wireless technology radiation to cancer, saying more information is needed about the amount of radiation and the animals it's exposed to.

"I know one of the things that folks tend to read a lot about is studies [about] radiation that comes from cell towers. One of the things that’s not explained very well is, first of all, the types of radiation used but also the intensity and the proximity of that radiation to the animal that’s being tested, and so that’s an important factor," he said.

"One of the ideas behind 5G as an evolution of telecommunications technology is that the energy levels are meant to be much lower than even the 4G communications technology. So we’re looking forward to seeing what the science really says and how it affects [people] because the fact is is that radiation is everywhere and what really affects whether or not it has an impact on rates of cancer or tissue damage is the level of the energy that is being used. We look forward to that information coming and to having that information presented to council for its consideration."

Caledon and regional council Johanna Downey asked Hopkins how Health Canada's Code 6 compares to health regulations in other countries.

"Health Canada set Safety Code 6 to protect the public. This is science-based and similar to the requirements and other countries including the United States the European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand," Hopkins said.

But while it's not clear what, if any action Canada or Canadian organizations will take to limit Wi-Fi and 4/5G exposure (or whether action should be taken barring more research into the potential health impacts on residents), Zampiero is hoping she can convince more schools to hardwire.

"Tech is a wonderful thing, but we're making some mistakes with it," she told

"With 5G, what are we going to get that we don't already have? We already have the speed with fibreoptics, but this microwave stuff is used in stealth military weapons. I hope that we rely on unbiased, independent research on health effects with 5G. I want people to do their due diligence. I can opt-out of going to a Tim Hortons with Wi-Fi, but I can't opt-out of sending my kids to school."

Should schools begin to hardwire, Zampiero hopes a ripple effect ensues—but she isn't targeting bigger institutions at this time.

"Being free of Wi-Fi all day, every day is better for your body. I hope that together, we can get it taken out of the schools. If schools turn it off, do I hope for a ripple effect? Sure. I'm not going that far yet, but if it's not on at school or in your home, that's less of it. I care about kids and about people. This [5G] hasn't been tested."

A report on the potential health impacts of 5G technology will be made available to council in the coming weeks.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: InSauga, Ashley Newport, 16 Sep 2019

Doctors, Experts Call for Delaying Deployment of 5G Due to Health Risks
Canada Created: 9 Jun 2019
Although 5G, or fifth generation wireless technology, promises faster download speeds and conveniences that most of us have never dreamed of, we’ll also be blanketed with a new type of radiation called “millimeter waves,” according to health experts who warn of the rising risks associated with the rollout of 5G.

Watch the 3 minute video report via the source link below...

At the Wireless Technology Symposium in Toronto on May 31, experts discussed evidence of adverse health effects from 5G technology and answered questions from the audience.

“It’s not been made clear to the public that 5G won’t just be another number and a letter on your cell phone,” said Frank Clegg, former president of Microsoft Canada. “It requires an entirely new infrastructure of thousands of small cellular antennas to be erected throughout the cities where it’s going to be installed.”

What would 5G infrastructure look like? Small cell antennas could be placed as close as every third utility pole.

Scientists from 42 countries are warning their governments about the emerging health problems associated with wireless radiation, and Canadian doctors and scientists have added their concerns.

“The most prevalent symptoms include headache, fatigue, decreased ability to concentrate, tinnitus, irritability and insomnia,” said Dr. Riina Bray, an environmental health consultant. “Impacts on the heart and nervous system are also of concern.”

Bray has been working at the Provincial Environmental Health Clinic for 15 years, and she’s seen the number of people suffering adverse effects from electromagnetic exposure rising.

“We predict that the number of people who develop the symptoms I just mentioned will rise in the places where 5G is first installed,” said Bray.

Professor and researcher Dr. Magda Havas is internationally recognized for her studies on the biological effects of electromagnetic pollution. She said that at high intensities these waves cause intense heat and pain because sweat glands on the surface of our skin act like mini antennas.

“At lower intensities scientists are predicting damage to eyes, loss of insect populations which are already declining, antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and physiological effects on the nervous system and the immune system,” said Havas.

Radiation from radio frequencies is classed in the same category of carcinogens as lead.

Dr. Anthony Miller, an advisor to the World Health Organization said there’s now enough evidence that if they were to re-evaluate radiofrequency (RF) radiation, it would be labeled as carcinogenic to humans.

“Governments could not possibly ignore that,” said Miller.

Some say the scientific debate about the health effects of RF radiation is over. But the question remains: Can we afford to take this risk?

Medical doctors are requesting delayed 5G deployment until testing can be conducted on the long-term biological effects of the technology.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: NTD News, Arek Rusek, 06 Jun 2019

Ontario to ban cellphones from classrooms during instructional time
Canada Created: 13 Mar 2019
TORONTO -- Cellphones will be banned in Ontario classrooms during instructional time, starting in September -- news that some suggest is meant to distract from ongoing criticism over autism funding.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement Tuesday that a formal announcement is coming soon.

"Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning -- not their cellphones," she wrote. "By banning cellphone use that distracts from learning, we are helping students to focus on acquiring the foundational skills they need like reading, writing and math."

Some schools already have similar policies, but the province will issue a directive to all public schools for the 2019-20 school year, government sources told The Canadian Press. How to enforce the ban would be up to individual boards and schools.

Exceptions would be made for when teachers want to use cellphones as part of their lesson, for medical reasons and students with special needs.

Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, said it doesn't sound like the policy will differ from what is already happening in schools.

"The notion that teachers are simply allowing inappropriate cellphone use at the moment is incorrect," he said.

"My suspicion is the only thing it's meant to change is the discussion that's going on around the return of kids on the autism spectrum to schools on April the 1st without the appropriate supports."

Thompson announced additional money for school boards and training for teachers Monday as hundreds of kids may soon enter school because they will get less funding for therapy. Changes the government is making to the Ontario Autism Program as of April 1 have come under fierce criticism from parents and advocates, who say kids now won't the levels of therapy they need.

NDP education critic Marit Stiles noted that a recent memo from the education ministry advised school boards to defer filling vacancies for retirements and other leaves for teachers and other staff until a promised update by March 15.

That could mean education cuts, larger class sizes or changes to full-day kindergarten, Stiles suggested.

"I think that this (announcement) has everything to do with a government that's trying to distract from the really serious and considerable concerns of families and education workers," she said.

The Green party questioned why a government focused on cutting red tape is introducing "a top-down regulation that complicates things for educators on the front line."

The Tory government conducted education consultations last year, and while input on the sex-education curriculum dominated headlines, feedback was also gathered on a potential classroom cellphone ban. About 97 per cent of respondents favoured some sort of restriction on phones in class.

"It was the closest thing we got in our consultation to unanimity," one source said.

The Progressive Conservatives had proposed such a ban in their platform during last year's election campaign.

The Ontario Public School Boards' Association did not provide comment Tuesday, but in its submission to the government consultations it had urged the province to continue allowing school boards to make their own decisions.

"Students need to be discerning digital citizens and opportunities should be provided within the curriculum to allow students to safely explore various uses and risks of technology in an intentionally guided and supportive environment," the association wrote.

"Schools and teachers have well-established limits and boundaries with regard to cellphone use in schools and the classroom, similar to other classroom expectations, which are designed to create positive learning environments."

The Toronto District School Board used to have a cellphone ban, but reversed it after four years to let teachers dictate what works best for their classrooms. The board has previously said that enforcing an outright ban was next to impossible, and said that to curb technology use would be to place limits on educational opportunities as well.

Spokesman Ryan Bird said the TDSB encourages appropriate uses of technology in classrooms.

"We leave cellphone use up to individual schools and classrooms to do what works best for them," he said.

A 2015 London School of Economics and Political Science paper found that "student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases" with a ban on mobile phones. The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Canadian Press, Allison Jones, 12 Mar 2019

Class action - Quebec Superior Court - Cumulative EMF effects (humans, fauna & flora) - Montreal May 8 - 10
Canada Created: 6 May 2018
Between May 8 - 10 (possibly May 11), there will be at the Montreal Court House the Superior Court class action cumulative EMF effects lawsuit's trial.

Mahons and Durand vs. Attorney General Canada, Attorney General Quebec and Hydro Quebec et als. concerning the cumulative effects of EMF.

Case # 500-06-000760-153

Hearings start at 9:15, Chamber 17.09

Request has been made to disallow Wi-Fi and cellphones during the hearing.

It is worthwhile for those interested to attend this crucial event!
Kindly make this know far and wide so that those who are concerned about the effects and the many public affairs issues associated with cumulative exposure to electromagnetic fields might be briefed about the issue, in depth.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: PACE, Andrew Michrowski, 06 May 2018

5G and IoT: a Trojan horse
Canada Created: 5 Apr 2018
The wireless industry dreams of deploying its new 5G (fifth generation) infrastructure in your neighbourhood soon, as it has begun doing in California. Boxes the size of a PC could be placed every 150 meters or so on utility poles, sometimes with small-refrigerator-sized boxes on the ground. 5G technology uses pulsed, millimeter-sized microwaves that are easily blocked by obstacles such as leaves, hence the need to install millions of cell signal boosters near homes.

The telecoms say this is the most efficient way to ease the digital congestion caused by audio-video streaming, whose global traffic, according to American giant Cisco, will be eleven times higher in 2018 than in 2014. Data would move through fibre optic cables, but rather than bringing these cables to your home, the last leg of the data’s journey would generally be wireless… As markets work, personal mobile phone subscriptions are more profitable than the higher speed fibre optic connections linked to desktops through your own router.

The 5G network would also support the huge increase in wireless communications to be created by the Internet of Things (IoT). Since most people already own a cell phone, industry wants to expand its market by embedding a cellular microchip into most manufactured goods. Therefore, items purchased in the future would generate data to be collected by companies and, ultimately, by governments. 5G-IoT is promoted by the promise of “smart” cities, leading to a more comfortable, convenient and efficient life. But besides a relentless expansion of sales, 5G-IoT will strengthen mobile phones as a platform for publicity and population control. Further, 5G-IoT deployment carries significant health risks.

An inconvenient truth denied by industry

On September 13, 180 scientists and physicians from 35 countries signed a call to action (see “Scientists warn of potential serious health effects of 5G”) demanding a moratorium on 5G deployment until its radiation levels are proven safe, particularly for children and pregnant women. Indeed, all these inter-connected objects would significantly increase radiation from electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in our environment.

And yet, aware of the enormous potential of this market, engineers managed to have these radiations characterized as harmless, through 50 years of sustained efforts, by infiltrating and monopolizing standardization committees. Don’t worry, they say, if the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, classified low- and high-frequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, in 2001 and in 2011 respectively. Don’t worry either that a study funded by the US National Toxicology Program confirmed the causal link between brain cancer and cell phone use. Ignore, they say, thousands of scientific publications documenting since the 1960s1 the harmful effects of chronic, low level exposure to microwave radiation, including more recent studies included in the 2007 and 2012 Bioinitiative Reports. Forget also that these radiations have been linked to diabetes, lower human fertility, cardiac disturbances, several neurological diseases and genetic changes.

And forget about people suffering from electrohypersensitivity, forced to relocate to isolated regions because they suffer from “microwave illness”, a term coined by the Soviet military in the 1950s. Electromagnetic intolerance is an occupational disease whose “symptoms disappear in non-electrical environments”, concluded The Nordic Council of Ministers in 2000. EMF health risks were even highlighted in the March 2016 issue of IEEE Power Electronics, the magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Constantly denied by the wireless industry, these facts constitute an inconvenient truth, as Al Gore would say.

Regulators prohibit any public health debate

The telecommunication industry’s hold on federal governments is such that deployment of 5G-IoT networks is imposed, and violates the rights of other jurisdictions as well as individuals. Any debate about health risks caused by EMFs is forbidden during public hearings on cell tower sitings. You will be inevitably exposed to their radiation and even more so by goods fitted with transmitting chips. It is to prevent such abuse that California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed Bill 649, which would have prevented the State’s cities and counties from deciding on 5G antenna siting.

In 1942, renowned biochemist and futurist Isaac Asimov coined the Three Laws of Robotics, at a time when the influence of robotization was barely beginning… The first one was: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” As we enter the 5G-IoT revolution, should we not consider similar guidelines? Technology should not injure human beings, especially when alternatives such as optical fibre are available. Living organisms have tolerance to natural electrophysiological activity, but not to any of the artificial EMFs created since the 19th century. Nature cannot protect itself from pulsed and modulated microwave radiation with carriers oscillating billions of times per second.

Individual freedom requires that any IoT transmitter be activated by its owner, and that the default position should be not to transmit any information or radiation. This will safeguard privacy, and peoples’ right to protection from unwanted microwave exposure.

In 1984, George Orwell‘s novel, society becomes a supposedly benevolent state offering comfort, practicability and efficiency. But everyone is spied upon and monitored by a sophisticated communications system that constantly reminds people that Big Brother is watching. This book illustrates the abuse of power and the erosion of civil liberties caused by mass surveillance. Without limits, technology may supersede humanity, and that process is already underway…

As Marshall McLuhan put it, “the medium is the message”; unlimited deployment of new technology often creates disastrous and unpredictable consequences, and 5G-IoT networks and products are very likely to do so. In 2018, the Orwellian prophecy comes true, 34 years later than predicted in the book 1984, published in 1948. Any type of automation reduces human autonomy and the powerful often abuse their privileges. The US Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to repeal the rules that regulated Net neutrality, allowing companies to reduce the transmission speed of some data compared to others, illustrates this point. In the book 1984, the government monopolized information while now, with 5G-IoT, corporations wedge themselves in information control. Failing a revolution, it is often difficult to recover any rights and freedoms abandoned in the past.

The cell phone has proven useful as a communication tool, but there is no need to expand it beyond its capacity to transmit short voice and text messages. The industry would like us to download 3D movies on the move, so justifying a 5G network. But this is going in the wrong direction. To prevent a public health crisis, the density of microwave signals must, on the contrary, be reduced by 10,000 times if not more.

Optical fibre is safer, healthier and faster

5G intends to turn smartphones into mobile entertainment and visual stimulation centres purely for commercial reasons. 5G has no real strategic value. You can’t use a smart phone to design a commercial airplane. A more useful investment would be to connect the optical fibre network directly to users. Everyone could enjoy a communication speed ultimately 10,000 times faster than wireless, less vulnerable to hacking and harmless to the health of humans and other species.

In 1776, Adam Smith, the first theorist of capitalism, warned us in The Wealth of Nations not to trust merchants when it comes to making regulations. He saw them as the cause of many future tragedies, because of their narrow-mindedness when it came to profit. Our governments should be wise enough and willing to establish serious guidelines for the upcoming data revolution.

By Paul Héroux, Ph.D., Professor of Electromagnetic Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University

Review of 878 Russian studies performed between 1960 and 1997:

For more details :

Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks
Click here to view the source article.
Source: La Maison, Paul Héroux, 11 Feb 2018

How smartphones are heating up the planet
Canada Created: 28 Mar 2018
When we think about climate change, the main sources of carbon emissions that come to mind for most of us are heavy industries like petroleum, mining and transportation.

Rarely do we point the finger at computer technologies.

In fact, many experts view the cyber-world of information and computer technologies (ICT) as our potential saviour, replacing many of our physical activities with a lower-carbon virtual alternative.

Related news:
Dec 2009, Denmark: Mobile-phone technology is a Carbon-emissions Whopper!

That is not what our study, recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, suggests.

Having conducted a meticulous and fairly exhaustive inventory of the contribution of ICT —including devices like PCs, laptops, monitors, smartphones and tablets — and infrastructure like data centres and communication networks, we found that the relative contribution of ICT to the total global footprint is expected to grow from about one per cent in 2007 to 3.5 per cent by 2020 and reaching 14 per cent by 2040.

That’s more than half the relative contribution of the entire transportation sector worldwide.

Another disconcerting finding is that all this extraordinary growth is mostly incremental, essentially shattering the hope that ICT will help reduce the global carbon footprint by substituting physical activities with their virtual counterparts.
The impact of smartphones

Perhaps the most surprising result of our study was the disproportionate contribution of smartphones relative to the overall ICT footprint.

We found that the relative emissions share of smartphones is expected to grow from four per cent in 2010 to 11 per cent by 2020, dwarfing the individual contributions of PCs, laptops and computer displays.

In absolute values, emissions caused by smartphones will jump from 17 to 125 megatons of CO2 equivalent per year (Mt-CO2e/yr) in that time span, or a 730 per cent growth.

The lion’s share of this footprint (85 to 95 per cent) will be caused not by the use of the device, but rather by its production. That includes, in addition to the manufacturing energy, the energy for material mining for gold and the so-called rare-earth elements like yttrium, lanthanium and several others that today are almost exclusively available only from China.

Another guilty participant in this excessive carbon footprint are the phone plans that encourage users to get a new smartphone every two years. That accelerates the rate at which older models become obsolete and leads to an extraordinary and unnecessary amount of waste.

These findings pertain to the device side.
Every text, download, email uses server energy

On the infrastructure side, we predict the combined footprint of data centres and communications networks will grow from 215 megatons of C02 equivalent a year (Mt-CO2e/yr) in 2007 to 764 MtCO2-e/yr by 2020, with data centres accounting for about two thirds of the total contribution.

For comparison purposes, the entire carbon footprint of Canada was about 730 MtCO2-e in 2016 and is expected to decrease by 2020.

The growth in smartphones and data centres aren’t unrelated.

Indeed, it’s the dizzying growth in mobile communications that’s largely driving the pace for data centres. For every text message, video download, photo exchange, email or chat, there’s a 24/7 power-hungry server in some data centre that’s making it happen.

It’s the energy consumption that we don’t see.
Software companies spur growth

Finally, and perhaps the most ironic aspect of all this, is that it’s software that is driving the overall growth in ICT as a whole, devices and infrastructure included.

Software companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo boast some of the largest data centres in the world. The rise in dominance of the mobile operating systems, namely Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, along with the millions of mobile applications that are built on top of those platforms, has spawned the mobile communication age.

The incredible —as well as unsustainable— growth in the emission footprint of all this hardware is there for only one purpose: To support and serve the software universe.

In other words, while it’s the hardware that does all the dirty work, it’s the software that’s calling all the shots.

The way out?

At the societal level, we must demand that all data centres run exclusively on renewable energy.

At the individual level: Hold on to your smartphone for as long as you can, and when you do upgrade, make sure you recycle your old one. Sadly, only one per cent of smartphones are being recycled today.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Conversation, Lotfi Belkhir, 25 Mar 2018

Waterloo man blames Wi-Fi for sickness (2012)
Canada Created: 14 Oct 2017
WATERLOO — When Howard Kalnitsky started experiencing heart problems 15 years ago at age 34, he wasn’t sure what to think.
After years of medication, he now says he’s affected by electromagnetic hypersensitivity — a nervous system reaction to wireless radiation from cellphones, internet and other technologies.
“My wife said that I had turned into this old, frail man overnight,” Kalnitsky said.
But the question of whether electromagnetic fields actually make people sick is a matter of debate.
Health Canada says there is no scientific evidence proving symptoms of apparent electromagnetic hypersensitivity are actually caused by electromagnetic fields.
“If you have a look at the body of evidence, there is no indication that technology such as Wi-Fi and cellphones represent a health concern,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, associate medical officer of health with Region of Waterloo Public Health.
“We do know that it is a field of ongoing study and that’s a good thing. We do know that Health Canada continues to monitor the science.”
Magda Havas disagrees. She is associate professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University in Peterborough and has researched electromagnetic hypersensitivity for two decades.
Symptoms include everything from headaches, trouble concentrating and difficulty with short term memory to heart problems, mood disorders and anxiety.
“This issue is not going to go away,” Havas said. “It’s going to get a lot worse.”
Children, the elderly and those with weak immune systems are more likely to develop symptoms, Havas said.
Kalnitsky says he self-diagnosed after speaking with an expert. He unplugged his wireless internet, mobile and cordless phones for a few days. The difference was drastic.
“The next day after I had disconnected, I felt different, I felt energy,” he said. “I’ve been perfectly healthy with no arhythmia for more than a year.”
Kalnitsky’s doctor, Dr. Kathleen Debrosian, declined comment to The Record to confirm his diagnosis.
The Women’s College Hospital Environmental Health Clinic in Toronto is one of the few places to provide electromagnetic hypersensitivity diagnoses.
Dr. Riina Bray is medical director of the clinic and sees about 50 patients per year she says are affected.
“Maybe one per cent of the population (is affected),” she said. “We really don’t know.”
The legislation covering the level of radiation broadcasting and telecommunications devices can emit here is Safety Code 6. Industry Canada governs the legislation, which is based on Health Canada recommendations. It says 1000 microwatts per centimetre squared can be emitted constantly to be safe.
Havas said countries like Russia have much lower thresholds.
Bray said skeptics and government need to do their homework.
“It’s a real thing,” she said. “It’s not a psychological problem.”
Judi Francioso of Cambridge said her family suffered headaches, heart palpitations and other symptoms after a smart meter was installed at the home in June 2010.
She wants people to take the problem seriously.
“We sufferers sound pretty stupid talking about this when no one else can feel this,” she said.
After being diagnosed at Bray’s clinic, Francioso fought for months to have her smart meter replaced with one connected to a land line. Symptoms have improved little since the meter was replaced earlier this year.
Kalnitsky says he will meet with city officials and talk about where cellphone towers are placed. But he may be out of luck.
The ultimate administration over where towers go is left to the federal government.
“I certainly empathize with the symptoms that (Kalnitsky) is reporting,” said Peter Braid, MP for Kitchener-Waterloo. “These policies are based on science and, according to Health Canada, there is nothing — no evidence of radiofrequency signals causing adverse health effects.”
He said if that were to change, so too would policy.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Toronto Metro, Metroland News Service staff, 29 Oct 2012

InPower Episode #1: A Mass Action of Liability
Canada Created: 10 Sep 2017
The InPower Docu-Series illustrates a powerful new method to restore social justice and accountability. Episode #1 focuses on solving the ‘smart’ meter problem: how we can prevent and reverse the installation of this dangerous technology, through holding corporate executives and government actors financially accountable — for the first time ever. And in so doing, we can restore safety in our homes, and bring balance to our world.

First, watch episode #1:

and then go to:
to sign up for notification of episode #2.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: InPower Movement, 26 Aug 2017

Liability Game-Changer: Hawaiian Electric switches to an "opt in" proposal!
Canada Created: 22 Aug 2017
Friday night I received positive news from safe meter advocate Debra Greene PhD which was so compelling that it has become the first InPowered Podcast installment.

Here's the gist of what she told me:
- In Early 2017, several dozen Notices of Liability (and Non-Consent) were sent to the Hawaiian Electric utility heads, who were planning on blanket-installing 'smart' meters.

- Now, Hawaiian Electric has announced their COMPLETE SHIFT to an "opt in" plan -- in which the utility must receive explicit consent from the homeowner in order to install a 'smart' meter!

- Not only that, but the utility strangely denied that they ever even had a plan for blanket installation, despite it being openly stated for years.

This significant development is the first incident we know of where a state's major utility has changed policy to "opt in".

Go here for my 20-minute conversation (via YouTube video) with Debra:

The evidence is clear: execs and officials (who are involved in causing harm) fear being held accountable in a commercial liability action.

As far as I can tell, we are on to something big. More news coming soon...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: InPower Movement, Josh del Sol, 22 Aug 2017

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