Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Will Technology Kill Us?

   Much as I love the idea of expanding internet capacity to match the immense increase in usage, which is straining current telecom infrastructure to the max, we need to step back a bit
A 5G Antenna
(photo from NaturalHealth 365)
and consider some of the consequences of rapid expansion.  
Our Senator John Thune recently introduced a bill (SB-19 "Mobile Now Act") to the U.S. Senate that would increase infrastructure (think antennas placed on utility poles throughout the country) to support latest generation technology and its need to support more usage.  As the owner of commercial property that is constantly finding its bandwidth capacity strained by heavy usage of mobile devices, I have to welcome some relief in the form of increased access to new generation technology.  In general, we have to move in this direction.  

     But I'm sensing a growing problem with this rush to pour on the capacity, and I wish Senator Thune would address it.  Thune has taken some substantial money from the communications and electronics industry, to the tune of $731 thousand during the 2016 cycle.  The sector was his 4th largest contributor, which makes his political friendliness to the telecom industry explainable.  That he unabashedly supports those financial paramours in their pursuit of content control by insisting on the destruction of net neutrality (the principle that service providers should enable users to have free, equal and open access to content, regardless of source) is a long-standing obsession with the Senator.  That he's willing to move ahead with adding infrastructure without entirely reassuring his constituents about its possible consequences is somewhat troubling, if not altogether dismaying. About a year ago Scientific American magazine published some findings from a $25 million study conducted by the National Institute of Health that showed clear linkage between radio-frequency radiation and brain tumor formation in lab animals.  An NIH spokesman said "I would call it a causative study, absolutely.  They controlled everything in the study.  It's [the cancer] because of the exposure."  This is probably music to the ears of some of the plaintiff lawyers I've known over the years.  Of even more compelling interest is the fact that the type of cancer turning up was found in the glial cells of the brains--gliablastoma--the same cancer that recently formed in Senator John McCain's brain.  
     As prolific as cancer studies have been over the past umpteen decades, I've tended to pooh-pooh many of them and go on living as I normally would. The result?  Probably the same as it is for most of us:  So far, so good, knock wood.  There is, however, a twist to this one: namely the liability issue.  The State of California is developing a bill similar to the federal legislation that Thune is pursuing and the consideration of financial liability for cellular injury cases is an issue that is being raised there. At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I think South Dakota has to make sure we're indemnified from liability claims before we start allowing telecom companies to attach antennas to our utility poles.  

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