August Harvest vs. 5G — Exploitation of “Digital Divide,” Stop Using Black and Brown People To Promote A Corporate Giveaway

By Patricia Burke

A few years back, yoga was all the rage.  Advertisers jumped on the yoga train with ridiculous ads, with beautiful people doing extreme poses in ridiculous settings. In the “Clean Energy/EV community” there was talk of repurposing gas stations so people could do yoga while charging their electric vehicles, by people who had no understanding of yoga, other than a desire to exploit it.

The yoga room/gas station idea seems to have gone by the wayside for the moment. But the intent was obvious:  society was embracing yoga, so it was open season for marketers and influencers to connect yoga to every possible consumer product.

5G/IOT is a Surveillance Energy Hog, and, 5G/IOT Perpetuates Systemic Racism

The corporate-industrial-economic-military cartel continues to attempt to justify wireless telecom and 5G’s planned, exponential, unsustainable, growth, while ramming 5G into communities with pro-industry policy and regulation.

One strategy is to portray 5G as an environmental sustainability initiative, even though it is clear that 5G is an energy hog with significant environmental downsides.

Likewise, decision makers near and far are widely promoting and endorsing 5G to address the “digital divide,” and racial inequities.

There is a harvest idiom about “leading one down the garden path” – “causing another to believe what is untrue.”  5G remains a multi-use agenda that has not found a believable consumer business case, but offers tremendous advantages for centralized control, surveillance, forced behavior modification, and concentration of wealth.

In the meantime, untested, unmonitored RF/EMF exposure is already increasingly raining down on front yards and in bedrooms across the county.  Communities are back-peddling and “locking the stable door after the horse has bolted” in an attempt to create adequate zoning for 21st century challenges.

It’s still a good idea to catch the horse and to repair the gate.  The wireless industry has been careening without guardrails or speed limits, and we now facing the consequences.

Vigilance is required against falsehoods concerning health, safety, and racial, economic and human rights. Grotesque exploitation is prevailing.

The Digital Divide Was Created by Verizon et al.

In his article, The “Landline” Scandal: Verizon’s Art of the VoIP and Wireless Scam, Bruce Kushnick explains:

“The goal of the Verizon et al. has been to totally confuse the public, regulators and politicians so that they don’t see the massive financial shell game going on underneath — and it is based on how the different services are classified, which then determines what sort of financial games they can play — never in the Public’s favor.

Verizon has been able to manipulate the accounting, not only of the actual lines in service, but to make the utility landlines to appear unprofitable so that they could force customers onto wireless and dismantle the state telecommunications public utilities — and this is happening in every state.”

Montgomery County:  “Listen to Us, Don’t Listen to the Industry” “Stop Using Black and Brown People To Promote A Corporate Giveaway”

The 5G Debate recently played out in Montgomery County, MD, where compelling testimonies counteracted the political/economic/industry narratives.

See sincere integrity and truth in a 4 ½ minute testimony by concerned resident Nicole Williams.

(See the Protect Montgomery County video playlist here.)

National Digital Inclusion Alliance: Myths of 5G Inclusion

The document “Myth Fact on 5G TESTIMONY OF ANGELA SIEFER Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to the United States House of Representatives” explains,

“Myth. The excitement around 5G has led to claims 5G will solve the digital divide. It will not. Current broadband technologies were not deployed to all neighborhoods (unless local governments mandated such) and there is no reason to think 5G will be any different. Additionally, 5G as a broadband service will require 5G capable devices. Low income households struggling to pay for internet service will certainly not rush out to purchase a 5G enabled device.

Myth. Well intentioned individuals have stated that if we could convince non-adopters of the value of the internet, they would subscribe. Anyone who has resisted using the internet realizes very quickly that the internet cannot be avoided when they try to apply for a job, register for classes or find out what their social security benefits will be. The greatest barrier to broadband adoption is not relevance. It is cost and digital literacy. Residential internet service in the U.S. is expensive. On the low end, internet service generally runs $65-70 per month. That’s a lot of money. Unfortunately I cannot provide any detail as to the cost of internet service because that data does not exist.” – Angela Siefer

5G Does Not Address the Digital Divide

Theodora Scarato Interviews Larry Orgeta on Digital Equity: 5G Will Not Address the Digital Divide

Insert video: 5G and the Digital Divide: Larry Orgeta and Theodora Scarato (Long Version)

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

Angela Siefer and Bill Callahan explain,

“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.

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.”  SOURCE

Lower income individuals also often live in close proximity to major infrastructure, such as coal-fired power plants. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by environmental toxins and placement of nuisance infrastructure.

Surveillance infrastructure targets communities of color and low income areas, and Black Americans in particular pay the price.

Affordable Broadband, Not 5G Cell Towers, to Bridge Digital Divide

In an Op-ed in The Montgomery County Sentinel, Theodora Scarato explains,

“Proponents claim that fast-tracking 5G will help bridge the digital divide and lead to digital equity. However, ZTA 19-07 in no way guarantees that low-income communities, or those historically underserved, will gain increased access. What ZTA 19-07 will do is allow multiple telecom companies to put multiple cell towers and the large 5G equipment boxes as close as 30 feet from our homes. No notice. No hearing. No community input.

NPR’s article on the Digital Equity states, ‘5G won’t close the digital divide. In fact, because it will speed the obsolescence of technology low-income people can afford, it will likely make it worse.’ The Communication Workers of America has issued several reports on ‘misleading 5G Hype’ and how new network deployment paired with ‘sweetheart deals’ only exacerbates the digital divide.’

Littering neighborhoods with cell towers is an environmental justice issue. There’s no excuse for towers so close to homes. By shrinking the cell tower setbacks from 300 to 30 feet, ZTA 19-07 would only magnify the negative consequences. The closer the tower is to your home, the greater the possible health risks and the ugly intrusive visual impact. Property values are likely to go down for any residents who suddenly find that a telecom tower has invaded their front lawn, but the economic hit is likely to be especially hard on those with smaller properties, whose homes are close to the street. On the flip side, people in wealthier areas with more spacious yards will not be so close to the taller, thicker poles laced with bulky equipment boxes.

In the three years since ZTA 18-02 was passed, we have seen no data indicating it helped connect low income families who live in these zones. A Center for Public Integrity investigation highlighted Montgomery County in ‘FCC says small cells will close the digital divide. Most say they won’t.’ CNET headlines read  ‘5G hype won’t close the digital divide.’ Yet Council Members continue the rhetoric that ZTA 19-07 will somehow bridge the digital divide despite the fact that all it really does is pave the way for more than 33,000 street lights and utility poles in Montgomery County neighborhoods to be newly eligible as ‘small’ cell tower sites.

ZTA 19-07 is a give-away to the billion-dollar telecom industry. It will only further exacerbate existing inequity. Telecom has a duty to their shareholders, not to the underserved. Rest assured, when the cell towers have all been built in our front yards, the families that are unconnected today, will still be unconnected. Montgomery County can, and must, do better.” – Theodora Scarato


Bright Green Lies clarifies that the environmental movement has become a lobbying arm for industrial capitalism.

Race is being used as a poster child for 5G.

The violence inherent in mining for conflict minerals and 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.

“The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The 5G train will crash, one way or another. It could be sooner rather than later, if we stop the lies.  That would do more to “save the planet” than any infrastructure plan. Those raising red flags are not wrong.

Top image courtesy Flo Freshman

See the Harvest series here.

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