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|Chip in 40% of smartphones has at least 400 exploitable vulnerabilities|
|USA||Created: 11 Aug 2020|
Over 400 vulnerabilities on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip threaten mobile phones’ usability worldwide.
With over 3 billion users globally, smartphones are an integral, almost inseparable part of our day-to-day lives.
As the mobile market continues to grow, vendors race to provide new features, new capabilities and better technological innovations in their latest devices. To support this relentless drive for innovation, vendors often rely on third parties to provide the required hardware and software for phones. One of the most common third-party solutions is the Digital Signal Processor unit, commonly known as DSP chips.
In this research dubbed “Achilles” we performed an extensive security review of a DSP chip from one of the leading manufacturers: Qualcomm Technologies. Qualcomm provides a wide variety of chips that are embedded into devices that make up over 40% of the mobile phone market, including high-end phones from Google, Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, OnePlus and more.
More than 400 vulnerable pieces of code were found within the DSP chip we tested, and these vulnerabilities could have the following impact on users of phones with the affected chip:
- Attackers can turn the phone into a perfect spying tool, without any user interaction required – The information that can be exfiltrated from the phone include photos, videos, call-recording, real-time microphone data, GPS and location data, etc.
- Attackers may be able to render the mobile phone constantly unresponsive – Making all the information stored on this phone permanently unavailable – including photos, videos, contact details, etc – in other words, a targeted denial-of-service attack.
- Malware and other malicious code can completely hide their activities and become un-removable.
We disclosed these findings with Qualcomm, who acknowledged them, notified the relevant device vendors and assigned them with the following CVE’s : CVE-2020-11201, CVE-2020-11202, CVE-2020-11206, CVE-2020-11207, CVE-2020-11208 and CVE-2020-11209.
Check Point Research decided not to publish the full technical details of these vulnerabilities until mobile vendors have a comprehensive solution to mitigate the possible risks described.
However, we decided to publish this blog to raise the awareness to these issues. We have also updated relevant government officials, and relevant mobile vendors we have collaborated with on this research to assist them in making their handsets safer. The full research details were revealed to these stakeholders.
Check Point Research is committed to making technology and products around the world safer and will cooperate with any security vendor that requests for a collaboration. In a proactive move, we have also offered organizations that could have been affected by these risks 20 free SandBlast Mobile licenses for their management mobile devices to protect and prevent any potential damage in the upcoming 6 months from the publication of this research.
What is a DSP anyway?
A DSP (Digital Signal Processor) is a system on a chip that has hardware and software designed to optimize and enable each area of use on the device itself, including:
- Charging abilities (such as “quick charge” features)
- Multimedia experiences e.g. video, HD Capture, advanced AR abilities
- Various Audio features
Simply put, a DSP is a complete computer on a single chip – and almost any modern phone includes at least one of these chips.
A single SoC (Software on Chip) may include features to enable daily mobile usage such as image processing, computer vision, neural network-related calculations, camera streaming, audio and voice data. Additionally vendors can optionally use these “mini computers” to insert their own functionality that will run as dedicated applications on top of the existing framework.
A new attack vector
While DSP chips provide a relatively economical solution that allows mobile phones to provide end users with more functionality and enable innovative features– they do come with a cost. These chips introduce new attack surface and weak points to these mobile devices. DSP chips are much more vulnerable to risks as they are being managed as “Black Boxes” since it can be very complex for anyone other than their manufacturer to review their design, functionality or code.
What did we do?
Check Point Research believes such an ecosystem may be a fertile ground for critical vulnerabilities that might have severe impact on millions of people around the world, and that fixing them requires a long chain of communication between many vendors, manufacturers and resellers. For this reason, we decided to review and perform a deep dive on the security posture of one of the most common chips available today – Qualcomm’s Snapdragon.
Due to the “Black Box” nature of the DSP chips it is very challenging for the mobile vendors to fix these issues, as they need to be first addressed by the chip manufacturer. Using our research methodologies and state-of-the-art fuzz testing technologies, we were able to overcome these issues – gaining us with a rare insight into the internals of the tested DSP chip. This allowed us to effectively review the chip’s security controls and identify its weak points.
We hope this research will help build a better and more secure environments for the DSP chip ecosystem, as well as provide the necessary knowledge and tools for the security community to preform regular security reviews for these chips in order to strengthen the security of mobile devices.
To learn more about this research watch our presentation at the DEFCON virtual conference.
We strongly recommend organizations protect their corporate data on their mobile devices by using mobile security solutions. SandBlast Mobile provides real-time threat intelligence and visibility into the mobile threats that could affect businesses, and provides complete protection against the risks detailed in this blog, associated with the Quallcomm vulnerabilities.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Check Point, 06 Aug 2020|
|Council Urged to Restrict Location of Wireless Antennas|
|USA||Created: 6 Aug 2020|
A non-profit advocacy group is urging the City of White Plains to restrict locating wireless telecommunication facilities in only commercial or industrial zones.
5GAlert Westchester, a group of residents dedicated to educating the public about the risks of 5G antennas and offering solutions to protect communities, is circulating a petition calling on the White Plains Common Council to enact protective amendments to the city’s Wireless Cell Antenna Code.
“It is imperative to act immediately in order ‘o promote the safety of life and property,” the petition states in part. “We are neighbors from across White Plains. We are all seeking a safe place to live and a decent quality of life for ourselves, our children and our community.”
In March, city officials approved the installation of 5G cell antennas in the downtown business area.
However, 5GAlert Westchester members maintain existing code regulations give the telecom industry “free rein” to install wireless antennas in residential neighborhoods, adjacent to houses, apartments, schools and play areas.
“These cell antennas would expose us, involuntarily, to constant wireless radiation, making our homes and schools and the entire City of White Plains unsafe, and would diminish our quality of life,” the petition contends.
Telecom industry experts have long maintained the technology is safe, but 5GAlert Westchester argues, “There is a large body of peer reviewed science that shows significant biological effects from exposure to wireless radiation, including ‘clear evidence’ of cancer, heart abnormalities, neurological, reproductive and cognitive damage.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not updated its exposure standards since 1996, which factors thermal effects, but not other biological impacts. Hundreds of medical and public health professionals have called for a moratorium on the 5G wireless technology rollout and for the FCC to develop rigorous standards for wireless devices and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, 5GAlert Westchester is also requesting the Common Council reinstate Citizens to be Heard sessions at meeting currently being conducted on Zoom. The Common Council has obliged, scheduling a session for citizens to speak in the city chambers on Monday, August 3 at 7 p.m.
Attempts to reach to the council about the petition were unsuccessful.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: The Examiner News, Rick Pezzullo, 21 Jul 2020|
|Farmers warned against hasty mobile phone mast agreements|
|Scotland||Created: 6 Aug 2020|
FARMERS have been warned not to rush into signing new telephone mast deals until a key Scottish legal ruling is decided.
According to land agents Galbraith, over recent weeks mobile phone operators have been urging farmers to commit to lease renewal terms for existing mast sites on their properties in Scotland, in advance of a pending Lands Tribunal decision that could prohibit the contract terms they are proposing.
Galbraith warned that mobile operators are offering significantly lower payments than the current rents received from these sites, as well as their standard terms, which often change many aspects of the agreement in their favour. However, they are offering one-off inducement payments, often in excess of £10,000, to property owners on condition they sign these agreements soon.
This timescale is likely to be prior to an expected Lands Tribunal for Scotland decision on whether the mobile operators can legally demand a replacement lease under the new Electronic Communications Code, which is aimed at modernising the UK’s telecommunications system.
The firm's head of energy, Mike Reid, urged caution: “Our advice is, seek independent advice and don’t rush into anything. The Scottish Lands Tribunal is due to decide on a case that could have a direct bearing on the agreement proposed by the mobile operators and generally speaking, farmers could agree better terms than the terms being proposed by the mobile operators.
“Any delay in agreeing new terms with the operators won’t affect mobile coverage or connectivity in the area as the mobile operators are already operating from these sites with the protection of the Code. The proposals received can also be quite misleading implying that the new Code rights are required for the operation of the site, which is often not the case.”
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: The Scottish Farmer, Gordon Davidson, 02 Aug 2020|
|Ukraine to increase permitted level of electromagnetic radiation ten times: What does this mean?|
|Ukraine||Created: 6 Aug 2020|
The government has instructed the Ministry of Health to increase the permitted level of electromagnetic radiation 10 times to improve the business climate. What does this mean, how will it affect the lives of ordinary people and is there any reason to talk about the danger of such decisions?
On July 1, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine instructed the Ministry of Health to increase the maximum permissible level of EMR for high (30-300 MHz), ultra-high (300-3000 MHz) and very high (30-300 GHz) frequency bands by 10 times - from 10 μW / cm2 to 100 µW / cm2, by making appropriate changes to the order of the Ministry No. 239 dated August 1, 1996. This decision was made for the development of 4G and, in the future, 5G in Ukraine.
In May 2017, similar changes were already made to the sanitary norms and rules for protecting the population from the influence of electromagnetic radiation, then the permissible level of EMR was increased 4 times (from 2.5 to 10 μW/cm2).
At the same time, the petition "to ban the introduction of 5G due to its extremely negative impact on health" received more than 25 thousand signatures, which indicates a high level of concern among Ukrainians about the safety of such changes. Moreover, interest in the government's decision is fueled by official statements of the World Health Organization, which in 1995 (and this is long before the advent of 3G and 4G) recognized that the problem of pollution caused by electromagnetic fields is one of the priority problems that threaten the health of all mankind.
Are such changes justified and how will they affect the well-being of Ukrainians?
What is EMR and how does an increase in its level affect the business climate?
Before considering the reasons and possible consequences of the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, let us recall the physics of the senior grades and figure out what the topic of increasing electromagnetic radiation is in general and how it affects the life of an ordinary citizen.
Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are alternating electric and magnetic fields that propagate in space in the form of waves at the speed of light.
Such waves are emitted not only by radio, television, radar and telephone antennas, power lines, wireless (Wi-Fi) networks, mobile phones or Bluetooth devices, which radiofrequency fields range from 10 MHz to 300 GHz. But also other household electrical appliances familiar to us: electric shaver, hairdryer, iron, personal computer, microwave oven, electric kettle, refrigerator, washing machine, and any other devices connected to the power supply line. For example, even a TV remote control emits electromagnetic waves in the form of an infrared spectrum.
The higher the voltage at which the devices operate, the more negative impact they have on human health. The most dangerous of the emitting devices are high-voltage power lines, laser welding machines, transformer substations, and mobile base stations (towers).
Mobile communication is carried out precisely with the help of such towers, which are raised as high as possible so that they provide direct visibility to the receivers of this radiation (mobile phones). Due to the fact that this radiation is reflected from some objects, radio communication is possible even in the absence of line of sight (but this is an unreliable option - with a weak signal).
"There are areas with poor communication, which means that there is no such tower nearby, it is somewhere far away and there is no direct visibility of this tower from the place where you are," explains the associate professor of the Department of Physics at the Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Cherkasy National University Anatoly Vinogradov.
In order to explain the link between an increase in the level of EMR and an improvement in the working conditions of business structures, let's find out the origin of the term "cellular (mobile)", which comes from the word "cell".
"Bees build honeycombs (wax cells of bees - ed.), where they put honey. Around each tower there is a honeycomb-collar, where communication is provided. If the towers are very far from each other, then these honeycombs do not touch each other and form "dead zone", where there is no connection at all," explains Anatoly Vinogradov.
Related: Radiation level in Ukraine could grow due to nuclear accident in Russia
The expert also notes that the size of such a collar cell depends on the signal level, so it is in the interests of businesses to increase the signal level in order to increase the cell size and thereby reduce the number of towers (each tower is a lot of money). Thus, by increasing the permissible level of electromagnetic radiation, the state increases these cells’ power, which is cheaper than increasing the number of towers.
Is there a danger to human health and in what case?
According to WHO experts, the influence of electromagnetic waves for a long time can really cause the development of cancer, changes in behavior, memory problems (until it is completely lost), Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, sudden infant death syndrome and an increase in the level of suicidal tendencies.
The systematic effect of high and ultrahigh-frequency EMR on the human body (over several years) is the greatest danger, because as a result of such exposure, both acute and chronic lesions, disturbances in the functioning of systems and organs, functional disorders of the activity of nervous mental, cardiovascular, endocrine and other systems appear in the human body. Such manifestations are most often found in people working under the influence of excessive electromagnetic radiation, and without proper protection or improvement of working conditions, this turns into an irreversible process.
In any building, electrical equipment poses a relative danger, namely: cable lines that supply electricity to apartments, switchboards and transformers.
Short-term irradiation (within a few minutes) can cause a negative reaction only in hypersensitive people or in patients with certain types of allergies. Pregnant women and children are also sensitive to the influence of EMR.
If there is a mobile communications tower near the place where people live, then the level of the radio wave signal is higher in this place. The dependence looks like this: when the distance from the tower changes, the signal decreases in inverse proportion to the square of the distance - the distance doubled, and the signal decreased, the distance increased three times, and the signal decreased.
"If, say, your apartment is at a distance of 100 m from this tower, then the signal is quite strong. If at a distance of 1 km, the signal decreases 100 times. If it is 10 km, then, accordingly, 10 thousand times. Signal decreases if the distance from this tower changes, "explains Anatoly Vinogradov.
But one should not blame the famous towers for everything. Experts argue that since today every home has a TV, microwave oven or any other technology that is related to the consumption of electricity, this means that you are already receiving radiation levels significantly higher than that of the towers.
For example, researchers from the United States and Sweden have established such a fact that children develop tumors when exposed to magnetic fields of 60 Hz for several days or even hours (such fields are emitted by a TV set). The results of observations of people who regularly used an electric drill indicate the unfavorable effect of electromagnetic fields with a frequency of 50-60 Hz (while in Ukraine the frequency ranges from 50.0 Hz to 300.0 GHz - is a requirement for the safety of working conditions in manufacturing, operation, maintenance and repair of equipment, during which constant magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation occur).
In general, the topic of the harmful effects of radiation on human health causes a lot of discussions. Thus, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) indicates that subject to the established permissible level of EMR, exposure to electromagnetic waves from 100 kHz to 300 GHz, regardless of radio technology, does not harm human health, namely: electrical activity of the brain, neuroendocrine system, cardiovascular system, the nervous system, thermoregulation, the immune system, does not lead to a change in the composition of the blood, and also does not increase the risk of developing cancer.
WHO notes that according to the results of numerous studies carried out, no harmful effects on human health have been identified with wireless radio technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G. The conclusions are based on studies carried out across the entire radio spectrum.
However, it is also noted that in prolonged exposure to radiation with an intensity of about 20 μW / cm2 (recall that the government increases it to 100 μW / cm2), a decrease in pulse rate is recorded, blood pressure decreases. At an intensity of 6 mW/cm2 changes appear in the gonads, in the composition of the blood, there is a clouding of the lens of the eye, in the future - changes in the ability of blood to clot, in conditioned reflex activity, pathological changes in the cells of the liver and cerebral cortex, then - an increase in blood pressure, rupture of capillaries and hemorrhages in the lungs and liver.
Radiation with the intensity of up to 100 mW / cm2 causes persistent hypotension and functional changes in the cardiovascular system, bilateral cataracts. Further irradiation has a noticeable negative effect on the tissues of the human body, causing pain.
Why are these indicators significantly different? The fact is that the degree of the biological effect of electromagnetic fields on the human body depends on a number of factors: on the intensity and duration of exposure, physical characteristics of various frequency ranges, as well as on the functional state and resistance of the body to the effects of various factors, adaptation possibilities (negative manifestations of exposure can take place at a very low intensity of EMR, which slightly exceeds the hygienic standards).
Is it possible to minimize the negative effects of radiation?
It is possible to minimize the risk of negative effects. For this, it is necessary to use special protective equipment (for workers who deal with electromagnetic radiation), as well as special clothing, paints, or materials (which absorb electromagnetic energy). Shielding of the radiation source and the workplace is also effective.
To prevent the negative impact of EMR on human health at home:
Place the lounge furniture at a distance of 2-3 m from the distribution boards and power cables.
When installing an electrically heated floor, choose one that provides a low magnetic field.
When buying household appliances, pay attention to the mark on the compliance with ISS "Interstate sanitary standards for permissible levels of physical factors when using consumer goods in domestic conditions."
Place the microwave backside (area of ​​greatest radiation) against a wall or window, the same goes for the monitor.
Talking on the phone, use a hands-free headset, place its antenna in the geometric center of the car roof (remember the main rule regarding carrying mobile phones - do not carry it near vital organs).
You should also remember the safe distance from household appliances and the recommended duration of its use (especially for pregnant women and children). For example, the most dangerous in the house are the microwave oven, TV, laptop, and smartphone.
The first, even despite shielding, emits 8 μT at a distance of 30 cm, which is dangerous to human health. Therefore, experts advise staying at a distance of 1-2 m from the microwave.
It is safe to watch TV at a distance of 1.5 m (for TVs of 29 inches and more - the distance should be increased to 2 or more meters). Keep your laptop at least 80 cm away. As for the smartphone, experts advise to refrain from long calls and use Bluetooth or a headset with headphones.
It is better to stay at a distance of 30 cm to 1.5 m from a working electric kettle, refrigerator, or electric stove. It is better to stay at least 60 cm to the vacuum cleaner and washing machine.
The country's policy in the production of household electrical appliances should also be aimed at reducing the level of exposure. For example, in the United States, a number of companies produce electrical devices that are safe in terms of EMP radiation (bifilar-wound irons, non-radiating computers, etc.).
Today in the world, in fact, there are no unambiguous norms limiting the effects of EMR with a frequency of 50 Hz. Therefore, setting the appropriate restrictions and norms, most countries use the recommendations of the leading international organizations in this area - IRPA, ICNIRP, CENELEC, and WHO.
At first glance, the government's proposed standards for the permissible voltage of the electromagnetic field for the population are even more stringent than the current international standards. Of course, de jure this sounds beautiful, but will Ukraine be able to de facto keep the norms in the specified range, given the fact that the saturation of industrial, administrative, and household premises with powerful electronic and electrical devices is constantly increasing?
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: 112 Ukraine, Iryna Shostak, 28 Jul 2020|
|UK Govt.: New law changes to bring better connectivity to the UK|
|United Kingdom||Created: 6 Aug 2020|
The government has today set out new law changes it will make to boost gigabit broadband rollout and bring better mobile coverage to the whole of the UK.
The move is part of the plan to give the UK the telecoms infrastructure it needs to meet the growing demands of consumers and businesses and to take advantage of future technologies that will be vital for the economy.
The telecoms regulator Ofcom will be granted new powers so it can share with the government information from broadband companies about where they plan to build gigabit-capable broadband networks, and to publish data about areas where gigabit broadband rollout is not currently planned.
These powers will help encourage the commercial rollout of gigabit broadband in locations where it is not yet earmarked. The government will also be able to take into account this information when deciding where it will spend £5 billion of funding to give the public access to the fastest broadband, capable of one gigabit per second download speeds.
This funding has been pledged to make sure hard-to-reach areas receive these much faster internet connections at the same time as towns and cities.
Separately, the government has confirmed it will push ahead with its plans to reform planning laws to make it easier for industry to share and upgrade mobile phone masts. This will speed up the rollout of 5G and improve 4G coverage in rural areas.
Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said:
We’re investing billions so no part of the UK is left behind by the opportunities and economic benefits that faster, more reliable and more secure digital connectivity brings.
These changes will help target public funding in hard to reach areas most in need of better broadband. It will also help mobile companies banish rural not-spots by upgrading and sharing their masts.
European Electronic Communications Code
The government has today set out how it will bring the European Electronic Communications Code into UK law. The UK played a leading role in the negotiations for the Code, which updates the telecoms regulatory framework for the EU. A number of its provisions are influenced and inspired by existing UK objectives and best practice.
While the Code largely consists of minor changes to the existing legal framework, the government will bring in some new pro-investment measures from the Code that are in the UK’s national interest and support its plans for nationwide gigabit broadband. Other measures will give people and businesses greater consumer protection and ensure Ofcom’s regulatory powers are up to date.
They include, but are not limited to:
Network forecasting - New powers for Ofcom to gather information on operators’ planned network rollout. Ofcom will share this information with the government to allow better targeting of public investment in poorly-connected areas. It will also publish non-confidential data about where rollout is not planned to help inform industry investment.
A focus on gigabit-capable networks - A new broad duty for Ofcom to promote connectivity, access to, and take-up of gigabit-capable networks to help the UK realise its full digital potential.
Promoting cooperation and competition in hard to reach places - In areas where it is costly or difficult to install new networks, such as urban blocks of flats and rural locations, Ofcom will have the power to impose obligations on operators already present to offer network access or to share equipment such as mobile masts with other operators.
Pro-investment regulation - Ofcom’s market review period will be increased from three to five years which will give a longer period of regulatory stability to the telecoms market and more certainty for investors in gigabit broadband.
Easier switching for consumers - Currently, when switching broadband providers, consumers need to liaise with their old and their new provider and juggle the relevant old service end dates and the start dates for new services. Under these changes, they will be able to contact their new provider, who will lead and co-ordinate the switching process so it is as smooth as possible and with minimal loss of service.
Better regulation of bundles - Consumers on bundled contracts, which include mobile and broadband but also other services such as video and music streaming, will be able switch providers more easily. This means they will avoid being locked into bundled contracts if, for example, providers make changes to their contracts, or something goes wrong with just one service in the bundle.
Mobile infrastructure planning reforms
In another response to a public consultation published today, the government has announced it is taking forward proposals to simplify planning rules to speed up 5G rollout and improve rural mobile coverage.
Reforming planning laws in England will allow mobile network providers to put more equipment than they currently can on phone masts, making it easier to share masts and increase mobile coverage areas. This will help maximise the use of existing mast sites and minimise the need to build more infrastructure.
The reforms will allow:
New masts to be built taller, subject to prior approval by the planning authority, to deliver better coverage and allow more mobile operators to place equipment on them
Existing phone masts to be strengthened without prior approval, so that they can be upgraded for 5G and shared between mobile operators
Building-based masts to be placed nearer to highways to support better mobile coverage of the UK’s road networks, subject to prior approval
Cabinets containing radio equipment to be deployed alongside masts, without prior approval, to support new 5G networks
Before amending the existing legislation, the government will carry out a technical consultation on the detail of the proposals, including the appropriate environmental protections and other safeguards, and the specific limits to be put on the widths and heights of phone masts.
The government also expects the mobile phone industry to commit to further measures and assurances to ensure that the impact of new mobile deployment is minimised.
Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said:
Delivering much-needed new homes is at the heart of this Government’s mission to support people in every part of the country, and this means delivering the modern infrastructure needed to go with them.
We’re taking forward plans to extend mobile coverage, particularly for those in rural areas, so everyone can benefit from the latest technology and the jobs, opportunities and growth that comes with this.
These reforms will aid the delivery of the £1 billion deal the government made in March with the mobile network operators to build a Shared Rural Network which will mean poor mobile coverage becomes a thing of the past. It has seen the four main mobile operators undertake legally binding commitments to collectively increase mobile phone coverage throughout the UK to 95% by the end of 2025, by investing in a network of new and existing phone masts that they would all share.
Notes to Editors:
European Electronic Communications Code:
The European Electronic Communications Code Directive revises the EU telecoms regulatory framework, which has underpinned UK telecoms law since 2003. The UK played a leading role in the negotiations for the Directive, which largely reflects UK best practice. Its core objectives are to: drive investment in very high capacity networks and services through sustainable competition; support efficient and effective use of radio spectrum; maintain the security of networks and services; and provide a high level of consumer protection.
The UK’s approach to implementation of the Directive is in line with the UK’s commitments under the EU Withdrawal Agreement to transpose EU legislation before the end of the transition period and to provide flexibility for future domestic policy. It meets the minimum requirements of the Directive, and minimises additional costs to businesses.
The public consultation on the Code, published in July 2019, sought views on its implementation, focusing on provisions affording flexibility at the national level, including those supporting accelerated commercial roll-out of gigabit-capable and 5G networks.
Provisions where we have departed from the preferred approach outlined in the consultation represent areas where the UK legal regime is already flexible enough to cater for the specific EECC provision or a degree of discretion exists in the Directive to allow the UK (along with other EU member states) to take account of market conditions and characteristics existing in national markets.
Some articles are either already addressed by existing UK legislation, or are being transposed by Ofcom through their existing powers in the case of consumer measures, or by other Departments, such as a provision on car radio interoperability that is being transposed through Department for Transport’s Road Vehicles (Approval) Regulation legislation.
In recognition of the limited time between publication and the date when these measures will come into force and the impact of COVID-19, working with Ofcom, the government has sought to ensure that measures that directly bite upon industry including consumer protection measures will only be enforced at the appropriate time. The government is supportive of Ofcom’s statement, published on its website on 7 May, outlining that industry will be given at least 12 months to implement proposed changes to their regulatory rules allowing industry flexibility it needs during this challenging period.
Mobile infrastructure planning reforms for England:
The consultation ran for 10 weeks, from 27 August 2019, closing on 4 November 2019. Planning law is a devolved matter. These proposals and any future legislative changes apply to England only. The technical consultation will seek views on the detail of the proposals, including the appropriate environmental protections and other safeguards to mitigate the impact of new mobile infrastructure.
In developing the technical consultation, we will also work with industry and local planning authority representatives, and other government Departments and relevant regulators, including Ofcom, to strengthen the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development in England
Electronic Communications Code - intention to consult on possible reforms:
The Electronic Communications Code, which is separate from the European Electronic Communications Code, is the domestic legal framework underpinning agreements between landowners and communications operators in the UK. The Code was substantially reformed in 2017 to make it cheaper and easier for electronic communications apparatus to be deployed, maintained, shared and upgraded. Now, more than ever, it is important that operators are able to do this at pace. Therefore the government intends to consult in due course on changes to the Code that may be needed to achieve this.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 22 Jul 2020|
|FCC Ignoring Evidence Of Wireless Tech Harms, DC Circ. Told|
|USA||Created: 6 Aug 2020|
The Federal Communications Commission failed to address scientists' and individuals' health concerns when it concluded its current wireless safety guidelines are still sufficient for the 5G era, two nonprofits told the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday.
In an opening brief, the Children's Health Defense and the Environmental Health Trust argued the agency glossed over crucial evidence when it found in December that its radiofrequency-exposure limits — established in 1996 — still provide adequate protection.
"The FCC received an enormous number of peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies, analyses, and reports demonstrating a consensus of the scientific community that radiofrequency radiation is harmful and sometimes lethal to individuals and the environment," the brief says. "The factual record in this case is strong. Yet the Order gives no consideration to most of the evidence presented to it."
The case, filed in late January, argues that the FCC's rules don't go far enough to protect consumers, especially when those exposed to long-term or multiple sources of radiation. The rules also "do not provide for sensitive or vulnerable populations," according to the brief.
Last year, the FCC revisited its wireless safety standards and found that the current regulations are among the strictest worldwide, making them still effective in protecting people from harmful wireless transmissions.
But according to the lawsuit, the rules don't control for conditions like radiation sickness, which the suit says causes symptoms such as memory loss and fatigue when individuals are exposed to a high volume of invisible radio waves. Prolonged exposure can also impair development in children and is associated with negative environmental impacts, the suit claims.
The sources of such exposure include wireless towers, the proliferation of 5G small-cell nodes in neighborhoods, Wi-Fi signals and cellphones, according to the opening brief.
"The agency simply ignored the ills and challenges faced by individuals who are especially susceptible to Radiation Sickness," the petitioners wrote. "In so doing, the FCC begged the question of whether the agency has a responsibility ... to develop a remedy that would address the ills being visited upon these people."
According to the nonprofits, the D.C. Circuit must force the FCC to revisit its rulemaking that failed to take into account the testimony from individuals and scientists who expressed concerns that ran counter to the FCC's already established wireless safety guidelines.
"There is no meaningful explanation why the scientific and medical evidence regarding harms and risks from current limits was not valid," according to the brief. "The public still has no idea why the FCC decided thousands of studies and hundreds of individual assertions of harm were unworthy of serious discussion."
For its part, an FCC spokesman told Law360 that the agency stands by its decision-making process.
"We are confident that these stringent limits protect the health of the American people and that our decision will withstand judicial review," the statement said.
The petitioners are represented by Edward B. Myers W. of the Law Office of Edward B. Myers; and W. Scott McCollough of the McCollough Law Firm P.C.
The FCC is represented in-house by William J. Scher, Ashley Stocks Boizelle, Jacob M. Lewis and Richard Kiser Welch.
The case is Environmental Health Trust, et al. v. FCC, et al., case number 20-1025, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
--Editing by Peter Rozovsky.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Law360, Kelcee Griffis, 30 Jul 2020|
|Government and industry combine to downplay the science on cell phone danger|
|USA||Created: 22 Jul 2020|
In 2015, the city of Berkeley passed an ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to advise consumers, in a flyer at the point of sale, that keeping a cell phone in their pocket or near their body could expose them to wireless radiation above Federal Communications Commission safety levels. Councilmembers understood that manufacturers deceptively hide this federally mandated information deep within user manuals or in the phone that few ever see. The council also understood that cell phones are allowed to be tested for compliance away from the body— not as used.
A survey of Berkeley residents found overwhelming support for Berkeley’s ordinance. Eight-five percent of residents never saw recommendations from manufacturers about how to best protect against overexposure to cell phone radiation and 82% want this information at the point of sale.
America’s trade association representing the wireless communications industry (CTIA) challenged this ordinance all the way to the United States Supreme Court twice and lost every step of the way. Now this well-funded industry, along with support from the FCC, is again fighting to prevent the public from simple truthful information. Despite losing, the industry has now asked a federal court in California to rehear the case. Industry is repeating its failed argument that the FCC claims cell phones are safe no matter how used. A federal district court hearing is set in San Francisco for Thursday, July 23, on this motion.
FCC regulations mandate consumers be given “conspicuous” information regarding safe use of cell phones. Hiding safe-distance information deep within the phone and their own manuals is hardly conspicuous. We must ask ourselves what other critical information industry and the FCC are hiding from the public.
The FCC’s General Counsel, Thomas Johnson, recently submitted documentation to the court in support of the wireless industry. Johnson, conveniently, formerly worked for Gibson Dunn, the firm representing the wireless industry against Berkeley. The FCC is claiming that the manner in which manufacturers currently disclose the cell phone “safety” information is adequate, thus Berkeley’s ordinance is “over-warning” and therefore federally pre-empted.
This is not so.
Why is a federal agency aggressively defending the billion-dollar industry that it is mandated by Congress to regulate? Why are the FCC and CTIA so adamant about stopping this simple advisory at the point of sale? Berkeley’s ordinance merely alerts consumers that wearing or using a phone in a pocket, or tucked into a bra, may expose them to radiofrequency radiation that could exceed the federal safety limit. Again, this is basic information provided by the industry itself, though in a hidden fashion.
I, Mark Leno, championed a similar bill in the California Senate in 2011, the same year the World Health Organization put wireless radiation in the same category as lead and diesel fuel. They declared this radiation possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk of brain tumors associated with mobile phone use. My bill would have put minimal safety information at the point of sale. I experienced the intense lobbying and mistruths of this industry. This is corporate special interest at its worst.
This intense legal battle is an abuse of our legal system and exhibits the flagrancy of the FCC and the wireless industry in covering up independent science in regard to public health. The $30 million U.S. National Toxicology Program released results in 2018 stating “clear evidence,” the highest certainly level, that cellphone radiation causes cancer.
Why should we ignore the science?
This industry and the FCC are putting public health at great risk concerning a device used daily by nearly every American including the most vulnerable — our children and grandchildren. Consumers should have the right to know critical information at the point of sale so that they can make informed decisions as to safe use for themselves and their loved ones.
Mark Leno is a former state senator from San Francisco; Ellie Marks is a co-founder of the California Brain Tumor Association.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: San Fransisco Chronicle, Mark Leno and Ellie Marks, 21 Jul 2020|
|Campaigners' anger at Bromsgrove 5G mast go ahead 'without proper consulation'|
|United Kingdom||Created: 19 Jul 2020|
A CAMPAIGNER has lambasted Bromsgrove District Council planners who given the green light for a mobile phone mast to be built on Perryfields Road without the operator seeking permission.
The 20m pole with accompanying cabinets are being installed to increase 5G coverage in the area.
But Phil Haynes said: “There are known health and safety implications which are unquestionable and for companies to be able to put up a mast without the public being able to have their say on the issue is absolutely disgraceful.
“It is an infringement of people’s civil rights which have already been eroded over the past few months.
“I fear this could be like the asbestos situation where the long-term damage was not known for years and by then it was too late.”
Dr Shirin Joseph from the Radiation Research Trust, who also commented on the plan, claimed electromagnet radiation exposure (EMR) was dangerous to children, even within the recognised International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) levels.
He said the site was 100m from a nursery and close to a school, adding no meaningful consultation with local residents could be organised because of the pandemic.
Ruth Bamford, head of planning and regeneration, confirmed the decision on Tuesday and said it was not possible to question the principle of the development or resist it on inappropriate or greenbelt issues.
She said as the proposed installation met all the ICNIRP exposure standards, she considered it was acceptable on the public health grounds.
And she added the applicants had justified the proposed location which had been chosen as there was no viable alternative.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Bromsgrove Standard, Tristan Harris, 16 ul 2020|
|Huawei to be removed from UK 5G networks by 2027|
|United Kingdom||Created: 19 Jul 2020|
"Protecting the UK’s telecoms sector has always been the government’s top priority".
Decision follows a technical review by the National Cyber Security Centre in response to US sanctions.
HUAWEI will be completely removed from the UK’s 5G networks by the end of 2027, the government has announced, following new advice produced by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on the impact of US sanctions against the telecommunications vendor.
Ahead of this there will be a total ban on the purchase of any new 5G kit after 31 December 2020.
The decision was taken today in a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by the Prime Minister, in response to new US sanctions. These were imposed on Huawei in May, after the UK’s initial decision on high risk vendors, and are the first of their kind removing the firm’s access to products which have been built based on US semiconductor technology.
Technical experts at the NCSC reviewed the consequences of the sanctions and concluded the company will need to do a major reconfiguration of its supply chain as it will no longer have access to the technology on which it currently relies and there are no alternatives which we have sufficient confidence in. They found the new restrictions make it impossible to continue to guarantee the security of Huawei equipment in the future.
As a result, ministers today agreed that UK operators should stop the purchase of Huawei equipment affected by the sanctions. There will be a ban on the purchase of new Huawei kit for 5G from next year and it will be completely removed from 5G networks by the end of 2027.
The decision takes into account our specific national circumstances and how the risks from these sanctions are manifested in the UK.
The existing restrictions on Huawei in sensitive and critical parts of the network remain in place.
The US action also affects Huawei products used in the UK’s full fibre broadband networks. However, the UK has managed Huawei’s presence in the UK’s fixed access networks since 2005 and we also need to avoid a situation where broadband operators are reliant on a single supplier for their equipment. As a result, following security advice from our world leading experts, we are advising full fibre operators to transition away from purchasing new Huawei equipment. A technical consultation will determine the transition timetable, but we expect this period to last no longer than two years.
This approach strikes the right balance by recognising full fibre’s established presence and supporting the connections that the public relies on, while fully addressing the security concerns of our world leading experts.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
5G will be transformative for our country, but only if we have confidence in the security and resilience of the infrastructure it is built upon.
Following US sanctions against Huawei and updated technical advice from our cyber experts, the government has decided it is necessary to ban Huawei from our 5G networks.
No new kit is to be added from January 2021, and UK 5G networks will be Huawei free by the end of 2027. This decisive move provides the industry with the clarity and certainty it needs to get on with delivering 5G across the UK.
By the time of the next election we will have implemented in law an irreversible path for the complete removal of Huawei equipment from our 5G networks.
The government will now seek to legislate at the earliest opportunity with a new Telecoms Security Bill to put in place the powers necessary to implement this tough new telecoms security framework.
It will give the government the national security powers to impose these new controls on high risk vendors and create extensive security duties on network operators to drive up standards.
Protecting the UK’s telecoms sector has always been the government’s top priority and last July, through the Telecoms Security Review, it announced one of the toughest regimes in the world for telecoms security. It will require all operators to raise security standards, to combat the range of threats, whether from cyber criminals or state sponsored attacks.
In January, as it concluded The Review, the government concluded ‘high risk’ vendors should be excluded from the core and most sensitive parts of the UK’s 5G network, restricted to up to a 35 per cent market share in the access network, which connects devices and equipment to mobile phone masts, by 2023, with the decisions kept under review. Our word-leading cyber security experts were satisfied that with our approach and tough regulatory regime, any risk can be safely managed, but were also clear that further sanctions could require them to change that assessment.
The policy in relation to high risk vendors has not been designed around one company, one country or one threat. It is intended to be an enduring and flexible policy that will enable us to manage the risks to the network both now and in the future.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: GOV.UK, Press release, 14 Jul 2020|
|Petition to block 5G gathers 3,200 signatures|
|USA||Created: 19 Jul 2020|
A petition set up to block the introduction of 5G mobile phone technology has attracted more than 3,000 signatures.
Camilla MacPherson, of Bermuda Advocates for Safe Technology, said that there were sound scientific reasons to be wary of the dangers of wireless radiation.
Ms MacPherson added: “People who want to discuss the health implications of electromagnetic frequencies are often branded as people with tin foil hats.
“But we have had overwhelming support from the community.”
The petition has been signed by 3,200 people, alongside 32 letters of objection to 5G technology, on the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda’s website.
The petition said: “Our mission is to educate and inform our community and policymakers about the dangers of exposure to unsafe levels of wireless radiation.
“We call on our government and regulatory agencies to make a firm commitment to our health and our children’s health and deny small cell and 5G applications and to create a more protective policy for wireless radiation in our community.”
The campaign group said it was worried by some scientific studies that suggested electromagnetic radiation could make chronic illnesses worse and cause some cancers, such as glioblastomas of the brain.
Ms MacPherson said: “A lot of people have contacted us to express their concern about the issues or feel that towers in their neighbourhoods contributed to their cancer.”
The 5G technology — dubbed the network of the “near future” by supporters — is said to provide quicker downloads and better network reliability.
But the 5G infrastructure has a more limited range than the earlier 4G network and needs more cell towers.
Opponents argued that more cell towers would expose the public to more electromagnetic radiation.
The RA is still in the preliminary report phase of the public-consultation process for integrated communications operating licences.
The Bermuda petition organisers appealed to people with comments or responses to the preliminary report and order to submit them to the RA before the July 20 deadline.
They questioned why Horizon Communications was verified as a qualified applicant for an ICOL in May, when its business proposal was centred around 5G technology.
Ms MacPherson said: “I think it is putting the cart before the horse.”
She questioned if it represented a change in the RA’s decision to hold off on 5G, announced earlier this year.
But Charmaine Burgess, the director of communications and stakeholder engagement at the authority, said there was no alteration in its stance, which it confirmed in April.
She added: “Our process is to first carry out a detailed radio frequency study, which will be conducted in the coming months.”
Ms Burgess highlighted the public’s opportunity to review and comment on the potential grant of multiple licences.
She said: “Therefore, I can confirm that Horizon Communications has not been granted an ICOL licence.”
Gilbert “Artie” Darrell, the founder of Horizon Communications, said: “Unfortunately, with the pending review of 5G in Bermuda by the RA, it would be premature for me to comment.”
The introduction of 5G has sparked worldwide health and safety fears.
Ayesha Peets Talbot, a doctor and director of Ocean Rock Wellness in Paget, said she had seen at least one patient who believed she had suffered harm from electromagnetic radiation.
The patient lived next to a wireless communications company, with equipment 20 to 30ft from her bedroom window.
Dr Peets Talbot said: “She stayed there for years. A few years ago she started to develop multiple cancers. She is in her forties.
“Her cancers were coming on so rapidly she was confusing a lot of the doctors.”
She said the patient’s history suggested it was hard to ignore the radiation exposure she had been subjected to.
Dr Peets Talbot added that Bermuda had to do more to ensure people were protected before it introduced 5G technology.
She said: “I have three young children. I really do think about their EMF exposure. I make sure I turn off the wi-fi at night.
“I make sure they have EMF protection when they are using their tablets and mobile devices. I make sure they sit far away from a flatscreen.”
She also questioned the potential impact on Bermuda’s sensitive ecosystem.
Dr Peets Talbot said: “We are not against technological advancement, but feel safe technology is smart technology. Ootherwise, it’s not really advancing us.
“Some people think you are either all for it or against it, which is not at all the case. We do not wish to turn back the digital clock.”
Switzerland, one of the world’s leaders in the introduction of 5G, in February imposed an open-ended ban on the use of its new network.
An independent panel advised the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2010 that mobile phone and other wireless radio frequency radiation should be classified as a “possible human carcinogen”, based on evidence from studies carried out up to that date.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: The Royal Gazette, Jessie Moniz Hardy, 13 Jul 2020|
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