In my last chronicle, I summarised the 10th century as the race for 5G. One aspect I did not touch on in that column was the groups that also permeated the debate on 5G negatively. Some call them tinfoil hats. People who see radiation risks and argue in various forms that mobile network radiation is dangerous. For example, posts may discuss that the decline in bee numbers is due to more mobile phone masts built near where bees thrive. Or that basil can stop growing when mobile phones are nearby.
The active 5G haters
For almost ten years, I’ve been covering 5G technology. I’ve also learned that few things have drawn as much comment as dealing with 5G on the internet. Blog posts or videos, as soon as they are published, the comments are coming. Mobile networks are, according to the pundits, dangerous. The higher the number in front, the more dangerous it is. The fact that 4G and 5G initially use the same frequency band doesn’t matter. 5G is more hazardous than 4G. At first, I tried to respond politely, but the debate got so monotonous so quickly that I turned off the comment functions on these posts instead. The foil hats vs Seijmer 1 – 0.
Is Russia driving the debate?
The Swedish Energy and Digitalization Minister Anders Ygeman, on his part, accuses Russia of driving this debate by posting false propaganda, among other things, after his post commented on Facebook. Just as Cambridge Analytica is said to have influenced the outcome of both the US presidential election and Brexit (if you missed that story, it’s worth reading more about), Russia may have an advantage in fuelling the debate and creating opinion against expanding mobile networks. If the West falters, the rollout will be slower, and Russia can take a tight position itself. Truth or not, judge for yourself.
So what about the so-called tinfoil hats? Where do they fit into the model? According to Per Ödling, a professor at Lund University whose research area is mobile telephony, it could also be a foreign power that wants to cause trouble. He tells SVT that “influence operations have always targeted men. But this one is different – it targets women.
We should not leave the debate unaddressed. Instead, take it seriously and respond to the issue objectively. I should turn on the comment function on blog posts and videos, but I don’t know if the energy I would put into it would make any difference.