CAUTION: Scrutiny Required — Al Sharpton & Colleagues; Don’t Violate Civil Rights; Question Broadband, Wireless, and/or 5G Now

By Patricia Burke

Broadband = “A Civil Right We Can’t Afford to Lose”

What is broadband, and what are civil rights?

This week, Essence Magazine published an article, “Broadband Access Is A Civil Right We Can’t Afford To Lose—But Many Can’t Afford To Have -THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS EXPOSED THE DIGITAL DIVIDE IN AN UNPRECEDENTED WAY.” The article is by Reverend Al Sharpton, Geoffrey Starks, Vanita Gupta, Marc Morial and Maurita Coley. As described in the article, Reverend Al Sharpton is the founder and president of the National Action Network, Geoffrey Starks is a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, Vanita Gupta is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Marc Morial is the president and CEO of the National Urban League and Maurita Coley is the president and CEO of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council.

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The article notes,

Congressman John Lewis said, ‘Access to the Internet…is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.’ We agree. The alarming current and forecasted impacts of COVID-19 show us that the people can no longer wait for connectivity. Now is the time to come together to ensure all communities have access to affordable and reliable broadband.


SPOILER: Please note, internet connectivity does not need to be wireless, and does not need to be 5G. Please don’t promote “broadband” and “internet access” unless and until all human rights violations are identified and addressed. The 5G network may, in fact, increase discrimination, marginalization, and exploitation across the planet.

Rural Focus on 5G = Discrimination Against Unconnected Black Americans and Other Communities of Color

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance describes itself as “a unified voice for home broadband access, public broadband access, personal devices and local technology training and support programs.”

Angela Siefer and Bill Callahan wrote,

Limiting Broadband Investment to “Rural Only” Discriminates Against Black Americans and other Communities of Color.

The federal government’s existing broadband programs target tens of billions of dollars to expand broadband availability for residents of “unserved and underserved” rural areas, while studiously ignoring tens of millions of urban Americans who still lack high-speed internet service.

This policy framework is counterproductive for reducing the nation’s overall digital divide. It is also structurally racist, discriminating against unconnected Black Americans and other communities of color.

We present data below showing that:

– most Americans who have a chance of benefiting from federal spending on rural broadband deployment subsidies are non-Hispanic white

– Americans who lack home broadband service for reasons other than network availability are disproportionately people of color.

– Conscious or not, the objective effect of current policy is that broadband investment – not just by the FCC and USDA, but by some states as well – is directed mostly to assisting non-Hispanic rural white people to get better internet connections.

Continued federal policies which direct federal “digital divide” spending only to rural infrastructure, and not to broader digital inclusion programs for both urban and rural residents:

– are inequitable to communities of color, and

– will help perpetuate the digital exclusion of those communities’ members from employment opportunities, education, healthcare services, financial and commercial access, and social and civic participation.

What do we learn from the data?

The most urban cities and counties in the U.S. have many more residents who lack home broadband service than do the most rural counties. All of the nation’s counties whose populations are at least 75% rural, taken together, accounted for less than 8% of Americans living in households with no broadband. In contrast, the most urban counties — those with fewer than 5% rural residents — accounted for more than 35%. Unconnected residents in the nation’s largest cities and urban counties far outnumber unconnected residents in the most rural and “unserved” counties, regardless of race. But the urban/rural disparity for people of color and for Black Americans is far greater than for non-Hispanic whites. For example, there were slightly fewer white residents without broadband in our dataset from the 111 biggest cities than there were in the most rural counties (2.7 million vs. 2.9 million); but there were seven times as many unconnected Black residents in the cities, and almost nine times as many unconnected people of color.


“Anti-5G Activists are Puppets for Putin”

In another corner of the internet, June 22, the American Council on Science and Health published an article, “Anti-5G Activists Are Puppets for Putin.”

The article states,

….But for those of you who are interested, very basic scientific reasoning explains why 5G isn’t dangerous:

The energy of the photons and the total amount of energy associated with 5G do not cause biological harm.

If it was really true that 5G is dangerous, then other technologies like AM/FM radios, GPS, remote-controlled toys, and garage door openers would also be dangerous.

The claim that 5G is dangerous fails to satisfy Hill’s Criteria of Causality, most notably violating the requirement for biological plausibility.


In 2013, Mother Jones told the world a bit about the American Council on Science and Health:

Leaked Documents Reveal the Secret Finances of a Pro-Industry Science Group

The American Council on Science and Health defends fracking, BPA, and pesticides. Guess who their funders are.


Yet, Forbes linked to the ACSH as an expert science reference.

For example, here:

Fortunately, science already tells us that 5G almost certainly poses no danger to humans. Unless you value unfounded conspiracies over bona fide science, here’s what you should know.

The article hyperlinks to:

Scientific American Says 5G Is Dangerous, Vegetables Are Junk Food

The article, “Anti-5G Activists Are Puppets for Putin,” by Alex Berezow, PhD, notes:

More like an IQ crisis

Everyone I know likes to think of himself or herself as pro-science and open-minded. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone proudly claim to be anti-science and closed-minded. Yet, we continue to debate vaccines, GMOs, and nuclear power long after scientific research has shown them all to be safe and effective. The people I’m criticizing — such as anti-vaxxers and anti-GMOrons — are incapable of being persuaded. That’s why the only solution is ridicule, the ultimate goal of which is defeat. In these cases, my goal isn’t to convince; it’s to obliterate.

Anti-5G Activists Are Puppets for Putin

Who else is in favor of spreading anti-5G disinformation? Our good friends, the Russians, who learned how to weaponize postmodernism. Mike Elgan writes in Computer World that while Russia is feverishly building out its own 5G technology, it is simultaneously fomenting anti-5G disinformation in the United States as a way to damage our economy. That’s why RT — the pro-Kremlin propaganda network — is telling people that 5G causes “brain cancer, infertility, autism, heart tumors and Alzheimer’s disease,” according to Mr. Elgan.

Like anti-GMO activists, anti-5G activists and their media collaborators aren’t just scientifically illiterate. They’re also puppets for Putin.


Does the tone of the article raise any red flags for you?

The non-profit American Council on Science and Health is not the only group belittling individuals who are being adversely affected by microwave radiation, and who are increasingly experiencing ridicule, and lack of accommodation.

In regards to the article by ACSH,

There is a difference between a transistor radio and 5G technology, which includes millimeter waves, small cells that are not small, massive MIMO (multiple input multiple output), beamforming, and full duplex.

SOURCE: Nordrum, Amy & Clark, Kristen & IEEE Spectrum Staff. Everything You Need to Know About 5G: Millimeter waves, massive MIMO, full duplex, beamforming, and small cells are just a few of the technologies that could enable ultrafast 5G networks. IEEE Spectrum. January 27, 2017.

Please note that scientists and lay people alike who point to a difference between 5G and earlier generations of telecommunications are targets of derision and attack.

The ACST article noted,

The claim that 5G is dangerous fails to satisfy Hill’s Criteria of Causality, most notably violating the requirement for biological plausibility.

The Bradford Hill criteria, otherwise known as Hill’s criteria for causation, were established in 1965 by Sir Austin Bradford Hill. They are a group of nine principles that can be used to establish evidence of a causal relationship between a possible cause and an effect.

Here is Dr. Anthony Miller discussing radio frequency exposure and cancer, (which is only one of the EMF health concerns):

Access to Broadband is But One Example Of Racism Inherent in the Telecommunications Platform

The violence inherent in the mining for conflict minerals and the dumping of e-waste in impoverished nations is another example of institutionalized racism. So too are the very real dangers of a dual-use technology that is actually intended to enable increased surveillance capitalism, disguised as telecommunications. Artificial intelligence-enabled profiling, algorithm-based decision making, and privacy invasion, are other examples of risks associated with technology that has not been tested for health and environmental impacts. The over-running of community rights and environmental justice is another.

Home is Where the Antenna is Outside Your Door

For example, here is a new Rhode Island petition noting the placement of antennas already victimizing communities of color:

Investigate RI G.L. §39-32 for Victimizing Communities of Color in Providence, RI

Angel Lopez started this petition to RI Attorney General Peter Neronha and 3 others

RI General Law §39-32 enacted on 9/27/2017 has encouraged municipalities to transfer the ownership of telephone poles along with Public Rights of Way to private entities. The law allows the new owners of the telephone poles to regulate themselves forcing residents like me to approach any inquiry or complaint about the installation of questionable, invasive, and ugly devices with out the support of any State regulatory agency.

The new devices on the poles have increased the exposure of Radio Frequency Radiation to entire communities of color in Providence. The devices have been placed near our homes, schools, places of worship, bakeries, and the busy stores and restaurants. Most of the small wireless facilities (SWFs) installed become eye sores to residents along with the excessive wires left behind with out any quality control or inspection standards.

We demand a thorough investigation into the impacts RI G.L. §39-32 has caused on entire populations of people of color in Providence, especially those within the 02909 zip code. This includes an audit of state and municipal budgets and impacts on our health. We did not consent to have our bodies used for the technological development of the Internet of Things and SWFs.


Sanctioning Ignoring Health Vulnerable Populations

Those concerned about 5G, because they experience adverse reactions to the juxtapositions of radio frequency exposures in the ambient environment, have been excluded, misrepresented, ridiculed, dismissed, and judged as inferior on the basis of an aspect of their identity that they have no control over. What they have not experienced, is acknowledgement, accommodation, and protection.

I am not as worried, today, in this moment, about whether or not society is aware of the 9 criteria that Hill used to assess cancer causality.

I am worried about the extent to which society as a whole does not recognize the profound danger of combining the issues of Covid-19 and racism to justify the ramrodding roll-out of the discriminatory, unsafe, unsustainable 5G telecommunications network. 1.

The true promise of your work in human rights is your leadership and vision in the restoration of dignity and human worth. For all.

The telecom industry needs your guidance, grace, and quest for accountability. Caution ahead.

1. See FCC Commissioner describing the 5G roll-out as ramrodding:

Re: Implementation of State and Local Governments’ Obligation to Approve Certain Wireless
Facility Modification Requests Under Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012, WT Docket
No. 19-250, RM-11849

If we want to see infrastructure expand broadly and equitably across this country it takes federal and state and local authorities working together to do so. History proves this is true. And in these historic times this agency should not be ramrodding this effort through without listening to cities and towns across the country. They called for a bit more time. But the Federal Communications Commission hung up. I dissent.


Dignity, by Donna Hicks

Image: Tim Faulkner, Eco Rhode Island

Patricia Burke works with activists across the country and internationally calling for new biologically-based microwave radio frequency exposure limits. .

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