Thursday, September 27, 2018

The "5G' Hype - If 5G Is So great Why Are So Many Mobilizing Active Resiustance?

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5G,  ...the "Fifth Generation" - putatively the greatest thing since sliced bread  - expanding and realizing the "internet of things".   SO you can communicate with your fridge, your car, your TV, anything - any device in the home  you desire. . So why are so many not seeing it as such a benefit and are actively mobilized against it?

The essence of the problem roiling most communities, can be gleaned from the attached graphic.  The manifestation of monstrous towers laden with cellular antennas has enraged many - even forcing a lot of towers to come down. Case in point?  Residents of Denver's Riviera Apartment were astounded when they confronted a 30-foot tall green pole appearing a few feet in front of their building entrance.  The unsightly contraption, installed by Verizon Communications Inc. was designed to improve telephone service in the area but residents complained loudly about the placement. Months later, it was gone.

But you can bet this is only the 'first shot' in a continuing resistance as in the months ahead millions of Americans encounter similar poles or notice antennas sprouting on utility poles, street lamps and traffic lights - and all over their neighborhoods. This is because all four national cellphone companies are pushing to build out their networks with a profusion of small local cells to keep their data hungry customers  satisfied - oh, and lay the groundwork for the much ballyhooed  fifth generation or 5G service.

But while their first line customers may be happy many other citizens aren't and that includes official in cities that don't want their locations looking like something out of a techie horror thriller. But never mind, more than 100,000 small cells are already wired up across the U.S. according to industry research firm S&P Global.   In addition, state and federal policy makers are mostly backing the wireless carriers.  Federal Communications Commission rules passed in March exempt small cell deployments from certain historic preservation and environmental reviews.

In other words, if intruding cell structures, polls are built near historic preservation sites - say a Civil War era home - or near a lake or special reservoir, there will be no need to review the proximity issues or effects.  Further, a bill now in congress would deem small cell applications granted if local governments fail to act within 31 days.  Dozens of state laws, as in the case of fracking (like here in Colo.) also restrict local government control over cell projects.

Despite these aggressive moves for implementation, the risks of 5G systems are becoming ever more apparent even as their environmental impacts are criticized.    Truth be told, almost every 5G advance comes with a new set of security worries.  The biggest concern by far is the expected flood of connected household devices- many of which have already been  hacked (like child bedroom monitors) and also used in denial of service attacks. (Such as one in late 2016 that caused major services such as Netflix and Twitter to be unreachable for a day).

Experts also fear that - with 5 G- the telecommunications system itself will become so central to everyday life it will create an inviting huge target for malicious actors.  There are also real worries that  5 G will make it easier for hackers to turn autonomous vehicles and implantable devices (e.g. pacemakers and Watchmen) into lethal weapons.)

According to Bruce Porter, chief information security officer at Expel Inc - a cyber security startup in Herndon VA:

"As 5G facilitates a vast expansion of networks and devices they will start to become large targets and ripe for attack. We have a fairly large problem ahead to figure out how to secure all the components of 5G".

Instilling more trepidation, U.S. vulnerability could grow if domestic companies lose the race with foreign companies to dominate 5G technology. (Especially if an American company for example, comes to rely extensively on Chinese technology)

Incredibly, many U.S. officials insist their approach to securing the 5G future is working so far, despite the fact there have been no real world, live stress tests on the system.  According to one FCC Republican,  Brendan Carr:

"It's a challenge. No way around it. But it's something everyone I've talked to is taking seriously".

Well, we'll see how seriously if an when the next central meridian, coronal mass ejection collides with planet Earth.

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