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The military is scrambling to understand the aviation crash risk from a new 5G sale
USA Created: 24 Dec 2020
As part of a broader move to boost the 5G industry in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 8 began auctioning a portion of C-band electromagnetic spectrum, a move the committee’s chairman, Ajit Pai, celebrated as “a big day for American consumers and U.S. leadership in 5G.”

But, in the weeks leading up to the auction, more than a dozen commercial aviation groups warned the sale could, as one study put it, lead to “catastrophic failures” with the potential for “multiple fatalities.”

At the core of the concerns are radar altimeters, a critical piece of aviation technology used by military, commercial and civil aircraft of all types — including helicopters and unmanned aerial systems — to measure the distance between an aircraft and the ground.

The aviation groups worry that 5G operations on the spectrum sold by the FCC could cause interference that would provide inaccurate readings on altimeters or cause their failure outright, in essence leaving pilots unaware of how far they are from the ground and potentially leading to crashes over the United States.

According to a memo obtained by Defense News, those concerns are shared by the head of the Federal Aviation Administration and the number two at the Department of Transportation, who are calling on the FCC to pause the sale so the safety issue can be studied more closely. The FCC, in turn, has said its own technical studies show little to no risk involved and it intends to continue moving forward.

Now, with the auction underway, the Defense Department is scrambling to catch up. The Pentagon has yet to determine the effect on military aircraft and has not established a formal position on the sale, with officials rushing behind the scenes to set up meetings and understand the potential long-term impacts.

A Pentagon official, in response to questions from Defense News, would only say the department’s policy board on federal aviation and aviation cyber initiative task force — an interagency organization led by the FAA — are reviewing reports by industry groups about the risk of 5G interference.

Senior leaders from the Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the aviation cyber initiative plan to meet Dec. 21 “to discuss findings and to establish an interagency way ahead to validate and respond to these reports,” the official stated.

Among those expected to attend are Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie Jr., the official who manages Army aviation assets; Brig. Gen. Eric DeLange, director of the Air Force cyberspace operations and warfighter communications office; and several cyber experts from the FAA and DHS.

Perhaps most notably, Honeywell Industries, a key producer of radar altimeters, has also been invited to discuss possible alternatives to current systems — a sign that the defense industry is taking the issue seriously. Honeywell declined to comment.

If the spectrum sale continues, some experts are warning a best case scenario may be that the department has to spend millions of dollars and thousands of man hours to design, procure and install new radar altimeters across the military’s fleet of airborne systems.

The worst case?

As one senior government official with experience in aviation said, “There will be accidents, property’s going to be destroyed and people are going to die.”



The ongoing dispute

Under the Trump administration, the FCC has focused on the sale of spectrum in order to goose the nascent 5G industry, which administration officials see as a driver for American economic growth. Branded as the 5G FAST Plan, the commission has moved quickly to sell C-band spectrum.

This particular auction involves spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz frequency, with the hope of selling more than 5,000 new flexible-use overlay licenses. Satellite operators using the C-Band have agreed to repack their operations out of the band’s lower 300 megahertz (3.7-4.0 GHz) into the upper 200 megahertz (4.0-4.2 GHz), in two stages. They expect to complete the move in December 2023. As of Dec. 17, more than 50 bidders had reportedly put forth over $15 billion in offers for the spectrum rights.

Currently, the 3.7–3.98 GHz frequency portion of the C-Band is relatively quiet, occupied predominantly by low-powered satellites. For decades, this made the neighboring 4.2-4.4 GHz frequency a perfect place for the operation of radar altimeters, which are also called radio altimeters.

But that frequency may not stay quiet for long. Once 5G telecommunications are introduced in the 3.7-3.98 portion of the band, there is a “major risk” that those systems will create “harmful interference” to radar altimeters, according to an October study from the RTCA, a trade organization that works with the FAA to develop safety standards.

“The results of the study performed clearly indicate that this risk is widespread and has the potential for broad impacts to aviation operations in the United States, including the possibility of catastrophic failures leading to multiple fatalities, in the absence of appropriate mitigations,” the RTCA stated in its report. Research for the report was conducted by the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute, a cooperative research organization based out of Texas A&M University.

Radio altimeters are critical during landings, once an aircraft moves below 2,500 feet from the ground. At that point, no other instruments provide an accurate measurement of a plane’s distance from the ground.



“It’s so important to have an accurate reading, because if it’s a bad reading it could lead to the airplane doing something you don’t want it to do.” explained Terry McVenes, the RTCA president and chief executive. McVenes is a former Boeing safety executive with 30 years’ experience in the commercial aviation industry.

“If your airplane thought it was 1,000 feet above the ground but was only 50 feet above the ground, well… you could have a problem,” he said.

The trade group filed the report with the FCC in early October, and shortly afterward met with an FCC engineering team. But since then, “We’ve heard nothing back from the FCC, had no other direct interactions with them” outside the official filling process, he said.

The release of the study triggered a last-minute request by 12 trade groups, including the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents military aviation companies, to consider mitigation efforts based on the report. The groups called the findings “the most comprehensive analysis and assessment to date on this subject, based on the best assumptions, parameters, and data… It has been peer reviewed for accuracy and validity and should not be dismissed by the Commission.”

The report has also gained the attention of Steven Bradbury, the acting deputy secretary for transportation, and Steve Dickson, the FAA administrator, who in a Dec. 1 letter obtained by Defense News warned that the spectrum sale could specifically damage both the Terrain Awareness Warning System, a major safety function for aircraft, and Autoland features relied on for pilots when landing a plane.

“Given the scope of the safety risk, and based upon our current knowledge, it is unclear what measures will be necessary to ensure safe operations in the [National Aerospace System], or how long it will take to implement such measures,” the two leaders wrote. “Depending upon the results of further analysis, it may be appropriate to place restrictions on certain types of operations, which would reduce access to core airports in the U.S. and, thus, reduce the capacity and efficiency” of commercial aviation.



That letter, sent to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, was requested to be added to the FCC’s public docket. However, the letter has not been posted to the FCC’s public docket as of press time.

The FCC and supporters of expanding 5G argue that the concerns are overblown.

“In the C-Band Order, the Commission concluded that our rules would protect radio altimeters used by aircraft, and we continue to have no reason to believe that 5G operations in the C-Band will cause harmful interference to radio altimeters,” Will Wiquist, a spokesman for the FCC, said in a statement. “Among other things, these altimeters operate with more than 200 megahertz of separation from the C-band spectrum to be auctioned, more protection than is afforded in some other countries.

“Moreover, the RTCA report was prepared outside of the joint aviation/wireless industry group that was set up at the Commission’s request and is not a consensus position of that group. Indeed, at least one other member of that multi-stakeholder group has expressed significant concerns with the study and several of its assumptions, and the Commission’s experts have concerns with this study as well.”

The member group that expressed concerns about the study is the wireless trade association CTIA, which in December filled with the FCC a document that called the findings “lacking and unreliable” and “unsound and unsupported.” Among the specific concerns raised by CTIA were that altimeter requirements used in the report were overly stringent, that it did not break down results by altimeter brand and model, and that the report relied on “unrealistic” scenarios during testing.

McVenes said RTCA is open to conducting the research again if presented with new data to work with, but has yet to see that information from CTIA or the FCC.

Risks to military aviation

Although the RTCA study looked exclusively at civil and commercial aircraft, almost all military aircraft are equipped with radar altimeters that are very similar to their commercial counterparts, said the senior government official. Defense News granted anonymity for this official to speak candidly about the risks to pilot safety.

While radar altimeters made for military aircraft are sometimes built to slightly more stringent requirements — having the ability to function in extremely cold or hot environments, for instance, or to withstand higher gravitational forces — they still reside on the same portion of the spectrum as commercial ones and are vulnerable to the same interference, the senior government official said.

The cargo planes and aerial refueling tankers operated by the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command would be most hindered by the interference produced by 5G due to their similarities to commercial aircraft, said Mike Holmes, a retired Air Force four-star general and former head of Air Combat Command. Holmes reviewed the RTCA report at Defense News’ request.

Many of the Air Force’s mobility assets are either based on commercial passenger jets, such as the Boeing 767-derived KC-46 tanker, or are equipped with commercial off-the-shelf avionics. As such, certain mobility aircraft are approved to conduct landings in bad weather conditions when the pilot has to rely on the aircraft’s instruments — such as the radar altimeter — instead of visual cues.

“You wouldn’t be able to fly that approach if your radar altimeter was being interfered with and you couldn’t get a good signal,” Holmes said. “For the military…you’d probably divert someplace else.”

For tactical aircraft, the bigger concern would be low-level flights over terrain such as mountains. Fighter pilots use their radar altimeters when flying close to the ground to evade enemy radar or surface-to-air threats. However, Holmes noted that not all fighter jets — such as the 1970s era F-15C — have radar altimeters, and that pilots would still be able to rely on visual cues.



Still, he said, if a radar altimeter is offering faulty information due to interference, that could lull pilots into a false sense of security about how far they are from the ground.

“Part of [the problem] is going to be trying to know whether you’re getting interference or not,” he said.

The senior government official noted that the special operations community could be particularly hurt by 5G interference. Certain aircrews of platforms, such as the C-130 or C-17, receive specific training to fly special operations low level missions, which involve flying close to the ground and inserting or extracting special operators, and those training missions may become more difficult to execute if 5G interference is a problem.

This training “is often executed under the cover of darkness. Depth and obstacle perception can be hindered in darkness due to the human eye’s cell structure,” the official said. “Night vision goggles provide compensation but still limit the pilot’s situational awareness.”

If the sales go through, the military will likely have to modify or replace its altimeters to meet whatever new safety standards the FAA eventually approves to mitigate the risks of 5G interference, Holmes said.

“If you go ahead and give up this part of the spectrum, the interference will drive changes that have to be made either to modify the equipment that is being used for 5G, to modify the equipment that are on airplanes, or to modify the procedures that determine how you use that equipment,” Holmes said.

Replacing or modifying altimeters will take time and funding — two commodities defense experts predict will be in short supply over the coming years — as defense budgets flatten.

In the near term, Holmes projects the services will change their training practices to eliminate any added risk to pilots caused by altimeter interference, such as restricting pilots of certain aircraft from landing in bad weather or ensuring that pilots of fighter aircraft take off with enough fuel so that they can divert to another airport if their radar altimeter no longer works.

In short, the military will have to give up money, time and effectiveness to fix the problem.

“The outcome would be lack of efficiency. You wouldn’t fly [certain] approaches in bad weather. So there would be times you couldn’t go do what you were [planning on] doing, whether that’s moving passengers or cargo in the civilian world or whether that was passengers or cargo in the military,” Holmes said.

“But ultimately, I would think the impact is going to be greater on the commercial airline world than it was on the military world.”



A billion dollar problem

While the satellite operators who currently operate within 3.7-3.98 GHz will receive some proceeds of the sale, allowing them to move to another portion of the spectrum, no funding is set to be given to the civil, commercial and government entities that rely on radar altimeters for safe aerospace operations.

As a result, it is likely that the U.S. military will have to replace “many or most” of the radar altimeters currently onboard its airplanes, helicopters and drones, the senior government official said. And because radar altimeters have all been developed to operate on the same portion of the spectrum, there is no off-the-shelf replacement already on the market for which interference wouldn’t be a concern.

On the commercial side, McVenes said if industry has to replace altimeters across its fleet, a price tag of “several billion dollars is probably on the low estimate.” That price tag could well jump for the military side, given the complexity of work on military systems - it is easier to swap out a part on a commercial plane than a stealth-coated fighter - and the infamous prices of defense procurement.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department could need to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the engineering work necessary to develop new altimeters, procuring those systems, testing and recertifying each platform for normal operations, and finally, installing the new hardware on potentially hundreds or thousands of aircraft across the military’s inventory.

“It will take many years, if not decades,” the senior government official said.



In the two months since the report was released, industry has jockeyed to get more time to study the issue and to put measures in place to mitigate the risks.

In a Nov. 17 letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Aerospace Industries Association and 13 other aerospace trade groups implored members of Congress to take action to protect the frequency bands used by radar altimeters.

“We are concerned that without this congressional intervention to understand potential implications and ramifications, decisions will be made with a frightening lack of understanding of aviation requirements,” the groups stated.

Help from Congress seemingly came Dec. 7, when Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Oregon Democrat who leads the House committee, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Pai calling for the commission to postpone the sale.

“These RTCA findings are alarming; they not only align with earlier research identifying harmful effects of 5G networks to radio altimeters, but they reflect a clear need for the FCC to return to the drawing board with this premature plan,” he wrote. “There is no question that additional study is needed to understand the full extent and severity of 5G interference with radio altimeters and whether any mitigations are feasible — or even possible — to ensure flight safety.

“We must never take a chance with aviation safety — and at no point should commercial interests be placed above it.”

A day later, the FCC pressed forward with the auction.
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Source: Defense News, Valerie Insinna and Aaron Mehta, 21 Dec 2020

Here's Why Verizon's Nationwide 5G Is Actually Slower Than 4G For Most Customers
USA Created: 23 Dec 2020
We reported last month that Verizon's nationwide 5G network isn't all it's cracked up to be. While it’s true that Verizon's mmWave 5G network (which it dubs UWB 5G) is among the fastest around offering speeds that can approach 1Gbps in some instances, it has limited range, has trouble penetrating buildings, and is available in relatively few locations. The company's nationwide 5G network -- which uses low- and mid-band spectrum -- is what most customers will be accessing daily, and it leaves much to be desired.

New testing from PC Magazine confirms the previous assessment of Verizon's nationwide 5G network, and its test results shows that customers should probably go ahead and turn off 5G on their phones when possible. Wait, what? Why exactly would customers want to turn off what has supposedly been the biggest reason to upgrade for most customers during the past year?

According to PC Magazine, Verizon's existing 4G LTE network is typically faster than its nationwide 5G network. It all boils down to Verizon's use of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), which allows the carrier to reuse certain 4G channels for 5G connectivity. However, as you might expect, this results in lower performance than what you'd see with a dedicated 5G channel. In reality, DSS means that customers on 5G are actually just getting the leftover table scraps, which can result in performance that is actually slower than 4G LTE.

The publication performed testing using iPhones and Android devices, and found that on average, Android devices operating on Verizon's nationwide 5G network performed about 33 percent worse than when using 4G LTE. This performance difference was highly repeatable, even when standing in the exact same spot while flipping back and forth between 5G and 4G LTE. It was much the same with iPhones, as 5G performance generally lagged well behind 4G LTE, with the lone exception being when the tester stumbled across a site that had Verizon UWB 5G coverage. In that case, the iPhone operating on 4G LTE recorded download speeds of around 400Mbps, while when switched to UWB 5G hit 750Mbps.

Our own testing has shown similar results, with 5G generally resulting in worse performance. Using an iPhone 12 mini with 4G LTE enabled, I typically see download speeds in excess of 200Mbps at home (see images above). Flip over to 5G, and that performance drops to just 135Mbps. These tests were performed on Spectrum Mobile, which is one of Verizon's MVNOs.

At this point, it's suggested that if you have a 5G-capable phone and you're on Verizon's network (or one of its MVNOs), that you simply turn off 5G. The performance benefits now just aren't there for customers, and in most cases, you're going to see a downgrade in network performance. Couple that with the increased battery drain that can come with enabling 5G on your device, there's really no reason to put up with these drawbacks.

That's probably not what customers that bought into the 5G hype want to hear, but things probably won't get any better for Verizon until is started gobbling up more mid-band spectrum (as T-Mobile has done in recent years) to improve its nationwide 5G coverage and performance.
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Source: Hot Hardware, Brandon Hill, 23 Dec 2020

5G Could Worsen Climate Change, Claims French Government Advisor
France Created: 23 Dec 2020
The widespread installation of fifth generation cellular broadband networks (5G) will likely increase greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten years, according to France’s High Council on Climate.

The report by the independent government advisory body, commissioned by the French Senate, found that 5G deployment in France would result in between 2.7 and 6.7 million tons of CO2-equivalent in 2030. That’s a significant increase compared to the tech sector’s current total environmental impact - about 15 million tons of CO2-equivalent.

The main impact comes from the manufacturing of the many component parts of 5G infrastructure and the new devices that will be produced to use it. Those devices use raw materials which must be mined, causing more emissions.

So far, much of the opposition to the rollout of 5G towers has been on health grounds, with critics citing unsubstantiated claims that the signals are hurting humans. Some internet conspiracy theories have even said 5G causes the COVID19 pandemic, again without offering any evidence.

5G has become such a controversial topic in France that in September a group of far-left and Green MPs in the French parliament asked for a moratorium on its deployment. The Senate report is an effort to shore up that objection.

In response, French President Emmanuel Macron has doubled down on his commitment to rolling out 5G, saying its critics were subscribing to an “Amish model” of living. “We're going to explain, to debate, to put an end to all the false ideas but yes, France will make the 5G shift," he said at a tech event in Paris in September.

Critics say the High Council on Climate’s report casts a wide net to encompass emissions that might happen whether or not 5G is rolled out. For example, it counts the emissions caused by manufacturing new 5G-compatible smartphones and the construction of telecoms infrastructure and data centers. It also factors in an expected increase in electricity consumption, assuming an increase in internet use as a result of the faster speeds.

The report sets out recommendations for how to limit the climate impact of 5G deployment. For instance, the EU should set stricter energy-consumption requirements for electronic devices and for the infrastructure providing internet, it says.

Governments have been caught off guard by the ferocity of objections to 5G, since there was no such widespread resistance to 4G. But unlike the previous generational changes of wireless signals, the latest improvement doesn’t allow a specific new technology but rather just an increase in speed. 1G allowed calls, 2G allowed text messaging, 3G allowed limited internet features, and 4G allowed streaming.

5G will allow for almost instantaneous data downloads that would take hours with current networks. There are concerns that being able to download an entire movie to a phone in a matter of seconds will drive an increase in internet usage what would be detrimental to both society and the environment.
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Source: Forbes, Dave Keating, 21 Dec 2020

No 5G network in Serbia for now, PM says people don't need it
Serbia Created: 22 Dec 2020
Plans to introduce a super-fast 5G mobile network in Serbia have been cancelled, at least for 2021, because, according to what Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has said on Monday, people do not need it.

The Government and mobile operators agreed that the 4G network in all parts of the country should be further developed first.

"It is vital that the citizens of Serbia currently do not need a 5G network. The scientific community, those who use supercomputers for artificial intelligence, eventually need 5G. But we, as ordinary citizens, do not need a 5G network," the Prime Minister said.

The move seems to be related to the Washington agreement signed in September by which Serbia has committed itself not to buy 5G equipment from unreliable suppliers, which is believed to be a US' attempt to block China's Huawei, the company that has gone the furthest in developing 5G technology, and which Belgrade has said would be its strategic technological partner.

Brnabic's claim that people do not need 5G network contradicts earlier state officials', including the Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications, statements about 5G as crucial for Serbia's economy, and therefore for citizens.

A journalist with 'Netokracija' website Marko Crnjanski said that in the future, foreign investors would choose the countries in which there was access to 5G internet.

"Its application is not only for users who stream and the like, but it will be used in industries. For example, surgeries can be performed thanks to the 5G network. Someone can be an assistant in the operating room via the 5G network," he said.

Telecommunications experts tell N1 the real reason for the change of plans is simple - "there is no money for now".

Petar Djukic, a professor at the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, said the reasons for postponing the auction for the 5G network were not political, but economic.

"There is no money, but not only at the moment. There is no chance that that money will appear soon," he said.
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Source: N1, Petar Gajić, 21 Dec 2020

Why The Race To 5G Is A Mirage
USA Created: 19 Dec 2020
You may have heard that we are locked in a technology battle with China over commercializing 5G. That conflict turns out to be more hype than happening, designed to whet American appetites for competition and pave the way for more subsidies to the global multi-trillion dollar telecom industry.

KEY POINTS:

Former national finance minister, Lou Jiwei warned last month that existing 5G technology in China is immature and quite expensive.

The next stimulus package should contain billions of dollars to produce, distribute, install, build out, maintain and monitor municipal fiber-optic broadband cable around the nation.

Until and unless a much safer, more cost-effective and less-energy intensive system can be produced, we should revise plans for continued expansion of the 5G albatross.

Former national finance minister, Lou Jiwei warned last month that existing 5G technology in China is immature and quite expensive. Increased electricity costs to fuel 5G in 2019, he recently warned look to be 10 times the profit of China Telecom -- one of three state telecom companies of China.

Not missing a beat or a chance for tapping heavy government subsidies, a China Telecom official, speaking at a Groupe Speciale Mobile Association seminar in Beijing last month, called for the government to directly underwrite telecom electricity costs. He minced no words voicing his fear that without this support 5G could prove a colossal failure.

"The existing 5G technology is very immature. Hundreds of billions of investment have been deployed, and the operating cost is extremely high. No application scenarios can be found, and it is difficult to digest the cost in the future," Jiwei warned last month in a speech that has been independently confirmed.

The Chinese Academy of Information and Communications Technology, concluded a white paper on the topic of 5G and the economy, “It is difficult for ordinary consumers and industry users to see the long-term benefits and rewards of 5G.”

"Based on a recent survey of Chinese consumers, 73.3% of the people polled said they believe that there is no need for the public to buy 5G mobile phones. The study released last month by iiMedia, a market research group, also found that the main reason for not buying 5G mobile phones is because there is no such need," the report read.

Important warnings came from Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, who bluntly added that the benefits of 5G have been exaggerated and are not needed at this time.

"In fact, human societies do not have an urgent need for 5G,” said Huawei CEO, Ren Zhengfei in November. “What people need now is broadband, and the main content of 5G is not broadband.”

What exactly does that mean?

Broadband relies on wired cables that provide faster, safer and more secure access. Much of it can be installed through or added onto existing infrastructure. Whether teens or the rest of us, it has always been tricky to distinguish between wants and needs. Those cool foldable phones may turn dad into a wide-angled photographic genius, but they provide no increase in connectivity between people, nor are signals less likely to be dropped.

Yes, 5G devices reduce the time needed to download movies to your wristwatch or another device. Yes, you can use your phone to turn on your coffee pot or clothes dryer or even handle three teens using devices at once.

But, all that comes with a price the full toll of which remains unknown, but is not unknowable, as two recent reports make clear.

Thus, the latest Government Accountability Office(GAO) Report notes that limited information on 5G is quite troubling, including the projected tripling or more of energy and permanent compromise of the night sky because more 5G satellites could be launched than there are visible stars.

Further, the 2020 New Hampshire State Commission, concludes that the absence of evidence on environmental impacts of 5G on plants, insects and wildlife from new 5G antennas should not be confused with proof of safety.

Other warnings come that 5G could drastically damage navigation for airplanes and ships, as well as set back weather prediction decades.

Goaded by demands that the commitment to expand wired access to the internet be honored, New York City has secured wired broadband to and through the premises for more than half a million previously underserved residents that now have wired access that provide among the fastest speeds in the nation of more than 1 gig a second.

The next stimulus package should contain billions of dollars to produce, distribute, install, build out, maintain and monitor municipal fiber-optic broadband cable around the nation. Given the undeniable importance of internet access to our society, it is critical that we provide universal access to a reliable backbone that speeds up transmission universally without compromising security, public safety or endangering the climate. Any gains in antenna efficiency will be swamped by massive growth in demand.

Until and unless a much safer, more cost-effective and less-energy intensive system can be produced, we should revise plans for continued expansion of the 5G albatross. Whatever our real differences with China, and they are not likely to be trivial, it is time for a reset on the rush to 5G.

Dr. Devra Davis, founder of Environmental Health Trust served as a Clinton Appointee from 1994-1999 and was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change team awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
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Source: International Business Times, Dr. Devra Davis, 13 Dec 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Global Campaign Reveals Why Smart Phone Users Have Become “Test Dummies” For Telco Industry.
USA Created: 18 Dec 2020
MOBILE PHONE USERS are being urged to boycott the next generation of 5G phones and join a global movement calling on urgent changes to existing safety standards because “the test is rigged”.

The creatively-charged We Are Not SAM campaign has this week been launched by Northern Rivers for Safe Technology, a high-profile community group based in Byron Bay, Australia. Thanks to intense lobbying by the group, the Byron Shire has so far remained 5G free, one of the few municipalities in Australia to do so.

We Are Not SAM campaign creator Rinat Strahlhofer, an ex-telecommunications insider who’s now intent on exposing the truth about the industry, said people would be shocked to discover the truth about their smart phones.

“Telcos have been getting away with certifying mobile devices as safe for years because the test is rigged,” Ms Strahlhofer said. “In the same way truth and public health suffered at the hands of the tobacco and asbestos industries, 5G phones are being pushed on the market despite a lack of independent, long-term studies to show they are safe.”
She said it was not widely known that the global telecommunications industry conducts safety tests about the heating effects of mobile phone wireless radiation on a plastic dummy called SAM, also known as a Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin.
During the test, which has not changed since the mid-nineties, the SAM plastic head is filled with liquid to see if it heats up one degree Celsius within a 6-minute call. SAM is based on a 100kg, six-foot tall adult male military recruit with a five-kilogram head.
If the liquid heats under one-degree within that time, the phone is deemed “safe” and ready for sale.
“The problem is that only 3% of the population fit the profile of SAM. Most people, such as women, children and the elderly, have smaller and thinner skulls than SAM, which means they will absorb substantially more radiation,” Ms Strahlhofer said.
“Essentially, we’ve become the test dummies for the multi trillion dollar telco industry with so much to gain from pushing out 5G phones on an unsuspecting market. Its safety standards are an absolute joke – which is devastating for our health and planet.”
She said many mobile phone users were already exposing themselves to multiple health risks from existing wireless 3G and 4G devices.

Over 2000 peer reviewed research papers demonstrate harm to human health from wireless radiation. Effects include: short-term memory and concentration, sleep disruption, headache and dizziness, fatigue, immune disruption, skin rashes, changes in cardiac function, issues with fertility and cancer.

The We Are Not SAM campaign is calling on mobile phone users to demand better safety tests and “help expose the dummy in the room” by boycotting 5G phones and signing a PETITION https://wearenotsam.com/petition/
We Are Not SAM has already gained the support of leading independent electromagnetic radiation scientists and doctors globally, along with high-profile activists. These include Robert F Kennedy Jr (founder and chairman of the Children’s Health Defense), Dr Devra Davis (President of the Environmental Health Trust), Dr Olle Johansson (a global authority on EMF radiation) and many more.
“Technology can either be used to bring value to our lives, or as a destructive force. We urge people to start questioning the way they’re using their wireless devices, and what kind of agenda the telco industry is driving,” said Ms Strahlhofer.
“Our greatest hope is for technology to be safe for current and future generations. This means authorities regulating to minimise harmful health effects and individuals taking responsibility to end their addiction to screens.
“We believe it’s crucial for humanity to rediscover their connection with nature and with each other, in real life and real time.”

More information, to keep up to date with the campaign or to join the movement.

Website: www.wearenotsam.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/wearenotsam
Telegram: https://t.me/wearenotsam

Facebook: WeAreNotSAM
Sign the petition: www.wearenotsam.com/petition
Check out the scientific research: http://wearenotsam.com/zoom-in/read-the-science
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Source: EHTrust, 04 Dec 2020

Protesters Halt the Chopping of 20 Trees For 5G Antenna in France
France Created: 14 Dec 2020
Forty residents and demonstrators gathered at Saint-Cadou in the town of Sizun ( Finistère ) to block the installation of a 5G antenna belonging to the Telecom company Free, reports Le Télégramme .

Loggers were proceeding to fell about twenty trees in area where the antennas were to be located. But protesters climbed the trees, making the operation too dangerous. Unable to work, the companies mobilized on the site were forced to turn back. Protesters voiced that the antennas were to close to residents and they raised the issue of health and environmental impacts.

Read more at:
https://ehtrust.org/protesters-halt-the-chopping-of-20-trees-for-5g-antenna-in-france/
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Source: EHTrust, 19 Nov 2020

Report Points to Microwave ‘Attack’ as Likely Source of Mystery Illnesses That Hit Diplomats and Spies
USA Created: 5 Dec 2020
A government-commissioned report provides the most definitive explanation yet for “Havana syndrome,” which struck scores of American employees, first in Cuba and then in China, Russia and other countries.

WASHINGTON — The most probable cause of a series of mysterious afflictions that sickened American spies and diplomats abroad in the past several years was radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has concluded in a report.

The conclusion by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields cited “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy” as “the most plausible mechanism” to explain the illness, which came to be known as Havana syndrome, though they said that they could not rule out other possible causes and that secondary factors may have contributed to symptoms, according to a copy of the report obtained by The New York Times.

The report, which was commissioned by the State Department, provides the most definitive explanation yet of the strange illness that struck scores of government employees, first at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in 2016, and then in China and other countries. Many of the officers suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and loss of hearing, memory and balance, and some were forced into permanent retirement.

C.I.A. officers visiting overseas stations also experienced similar symptoms, The Times and GQ magazine reported in October. The officers were traveling to discuss countering Russia covert operations with foreign intelligence agencies, a fact that adds to suspicions that Moscow is behind the episodes.

Though couched in careful, scientific language, the new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to “directed” and “pulsed” — rather than “continuous” — energy, implying that the victims’ exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy, such as, for example, a cellphone.

It also said the committee found the immediate symptoms that patients reported — including strange sensations of pain, pressure and sound that often appeared to emanate from a particular direction, or occurred in a specific spot in a room — were more consistent with a directed “attack” of radiofrequency energy.

The committee considered other causes, like chemical exposures and infectious diseases, but said they appeared unlikely.

The report said that the variability of the incidents, which appeared to affect different people in different ways, left open the possible influence of “psychological and social factors.” And it said that some of the victims may be experiencing a condition called “persistent postural-perceptual dizziness,” a nervous system disorder that produces a prolonged feeling of vertigo or unsteadiness.

The episodes have been the subject of much speculation and controversy. Many of the victims, as well as some government officials and outside scientists, have long argued that radiofrequency energy was the most likely cause, potentially the result of a weapon wielded by a foreign power.

But since 2018, the U.S. government has declined to speculate publicly on the cases, and some scientists have promoted alternate theories, like a kind of psychological illness that spread in the stressful environment of foreign missions.

Amid the controversy and confusion, some of the afflicted officers have complained that the United States has failed to support them. In several cases, the government initially refused to grant leave and provide the necessary medical care, the officers said. And with the government silent on the possibility of a foreign attack, many of the victims were left feeling that the public believed they had made it all up.

Several of the victims have accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Trump administration officials of downplaying the issue in an attempt to avoid disrupting international ties. They now ask how President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his nominee for secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, will respond, especially given the new scientific findings.

The State Department gave the report to some congressional officials and others on Thursday and Friday and told them not to share it, after lawmakers had pressured the agency for months to release the report. The Times and NBC News separately obtained the report on Friday, and NBC earlier reported the findings.

“We are pleased this report is now out and can add to the data and analyses that may help us come to an eventual conclusion as to what transpired,” the State Department said in a statement on Saturday.

The department also said that “each possible cause remains speculative” and that various factors, including the committee’s lack of access to some information because of potential security concerns, “limit the scope of the report,” though “they do not lessen its value.”

For the Trump administration, acknowledging that the incidents were the result of a foreign attack could have necessitated evacuating American missions in China, disrupting an important economic relationship. The administration did take a harder approach in Cuba, which aligned with its larger goal of reversing President Barack Obama’s diplomatic opening with Havana.

The question of Moscow’s possible culpability is a thorny one, given the sensitivities around President Trump on any matters involving Russia or President Vladimir V. Putin. Moscow has denied any role, and Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, has not concluded the Kremlin was responsible. But some C.I.A. analysts who are Russia experts, diplomats and scientists contend that evidence points to Moscow, which has a long history of experimenting with the technology.

The report does not point to a perpetrator, though it mentions “significant research in Russia/U.S.S.R.” on pulsed radiofrequency technology, as well as the exposure of military personnel in Eurasian communist countries to microwave radiation. The Soviet Union bombarded the American Embassy in Moscow with microwaves in the 1970s and ’80s. In a 2014 document, the National Security Agency discussed a microwave weapon used by a hostile country, which people familiar with the document said was Russia.

Mark Lenzi, a diplomatic security officer who was afflicted with the symptoms while working in Guangzhou, China, in early 2018, said that the administration’s treatment of its employees, including its efforts to “deny and cover up inconvenient scientific and medical facts,” had left him angrier at his own government than the government that injured him.

“My government looked the other way when they knew I and my family were injured,” he said. “This report is just the beginning and when the American people know the full extent of this administration’s cover-up of the radiofrequency attacks in China in particular they will be outraged.”

Mr. Lenzi has sued the State Department for disability discrimination. The Office of Special Counsel has been pursuing two investigations into the State Department’s conduct.

Some family members of the affected U.S. government employees also fell ill overseas, including Mr. Lenzi’s wife. And at least 14 Canadian citizens in Havana said they had experienced similar symptoms.

The report by the National Academies also contains a stark warning about the possibility of future incidents, and the U.S. government’s ability to detect them, or to mount a response. The fact that American government employees reported afflictions not only in Cuba and China but also in Russia and other countries raises questions about how widespread the incidents may be.

The committee was not in a position to assess “specific scenarios involving malevolent actors,” Dr. David Relman, a Stanford University professor who led the committee, wrote in a preface to the report. Yet, he said, “the mere consideration of such a scenario raises grave concerns about a world with disinhibited malevolent actors and new tools for causing harm to others.”

The report recommends that the State Department act now to establish plans and protocols so it can immediately begin an investigation if similar incidents occur in the future.

“The larger issue is preparedness for new and unknown threats that might compromise the health and safety of U.S. diplomats serving abroad,” the report concludes. “The next event may be even more dispersed in time and place, and even more difficult to recognize quickly.”

The panel said its findings were hampered by the government’s slow and uneven response to the incidents, in which different patients were evaluated by various methods and clinicians at different points in their illness. It also said that the information made available on patients from China was “too sparse and fragmentary to be able to draw any substantive conclusions about these cases,” and therefore the report focuses on events surrounding the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

The scientists sent the report to the State Department in August, and agency officials there then put it under review. Lawmakers pressed the department to publicly disclose the findings, saying its failure to release the information fit with a pattern of secrecy and inaction by the Trump administration. In interviews in October, Dr. Relman criticized the department for not acting faster to release the report.

Some victims said at the time that the Trump administration was trying to avoid addressing its shortfalls toward the safety of U.S. government employees overseas, especially ahead of the November elections. Asked in late October by a reporter about the illnesses, Mr. Pompeo did not mention the report and said only that the government was unable to determine the cause.

Several lawmakers have forcefully pressed the State Department to be more accountable and provide proper health and work compensation benefits to all of the victims and affected family members. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, has inserted a provision on long-term benefits into the latest defense budget bill that Congress is expected to pass this month, though Mr. Trump has threatened to veto the measure for reasons unrelated to the provision.

“Their illnesses and suffering are real and demand a response from Congress,” Ms. Shaheen said. “While I’m encouraged by the progress we’re seeing, much more must be done to uncover the source of these incidents and ensure that no other public servant suffers in this way.”
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Source: New York Times, Ana Swanson & Edward Wong, 05 Dec 2020

Speaking Out on Electrosensitivity as 5G Expands
USA Created: 3 Dec 2020
As the march to install superfast 5G wireless service continues across the country, advocates for patients with electro-sensitivity are questioning the technology's safety.

Noah Davidson of Sacramento began lobbying to have 5G antennas moved away from people's homes and offices because his five- and seven-year-old nieces got sick for two months straight, right after Verizon installed a 5G box on a light pole next to their home.

The family hired an expert to measure the radio-frequency levels.

"He conducted some measurements and told us it was the highest indoor measurements that he'd ever recorded," Davidson claimed. "So, we ended up installing some shielding in the home, moving the kids into a back room. And within a few days, their symptoms went away."

Verizon's website quotes the Federal Communications Commission's guidance that there's no scientific evidence linking radiation from cell phones to health problems in humans. And 5G boxes do meet all legal standards.

Davidson wants the decades-old standards updated, saying the technology hasn't been proven safe.

Cell antennas for 3G and 4G signals are typically mounted on towers 50 to 200 feet above ground. But the 5G small cell boxes are more localized, generally placed every seven or eight houses, about 30 feet off the ground.

Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany and an expert on RF radiation, said some people do fall ill when exposed to non-ionizing radiation from cell phones, smart meters, and components of the 5G cell sites, boxes that are now being installed across the nation.

"There are a lot of people that get ringing in their ears or get headaches, and feel fatigued and their brain isn't working quite right, that never think about the fact that it may be coming from the Wi-Fi in their house, or the smart meter on the outside door," Carpenter explained.

A recent study from UC Irvine in the medical journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders finds extreme RF exposure can produce severe illness that mimics MS.

It looked at the case of 47-year-old Rick Garwood, a former cell phone tower technician from Southern California. He was exposed to massive radiation amounts in 2011, when a Verizon worker switched the towers back on after they'd been shut down for maintenance.

Garwood said he's now on permanent disability, suffering with nodules on his lungs and painful lesions on his brain, kidney and spinal cord.

"The person I was, is gone," Garwood said. "I mean, I've lost everything in life. I had to move back to my parent's home. I'm on permanent disability; I went from an $80,000-a-year career to all of a sudden, I was on worker's comp for four-and-a-half years. And then they finally said, 'You're not going to get any better.'"

Garwood sued, went to mediation, and received about a year's pay.
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Source: Public News Service, 09 Oct 2020

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

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

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

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


PROGRAMME

10:00-10:05 - WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

- Michèle Rivasi, MEP and STOA Panel Member

- Ivo Hristov, MEP and STOA Panel Member

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

- Fiorella Belpoggi, Ramazzini Institute, Bologna, Italy

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

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

- Franz Karcher, DG Sante, European Commission

11:05-11:35 - ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF 5G

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

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

11:35-12:00 - Q&A FROM THE AUDIENCE AND CLOSING REMARKS

- Q&A from the audience

- Ivo Hristov, MEP and STOA Panel Member

- Michèle Rivasi, MEP and STOA Panel Member

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

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

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