In a landmark decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission failed to consider evidence of adverse health impacts from wireless technology, including 5G.
On August 13, circuit judges with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of environmental health groups and petitioners, finding that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ignored thousands of public comments and evidence of adverse harm from wireless technology.
The ruling comes as a result of lawsuits known as a Petition for Review filed by the Children’s Health Defense. CHD’s suit was consolidated with a similarly filed case from the Environmental Health Trust. The two organizations claimed the FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to respond to public comments on the environmental harm posed by radiofrequency radiation.
The groups argued the FCC’s December 2019 decision to retain its safety limits for human exposure to wireless radiation was “arbitrary, capricious, not evidence-based, an abuse of discretion” which violated the APA. The FCC originally adopted guidelines for wireless radiation in 1996. Critics of the guidelines have pointed to the fact that the FCC guidelines only deal with the thermal effects (heating) of radiation and ignore evidence of harms from RFR at non-thermal levels. Despite a growing body of evidence detailing the harm posed by wireless technology the FCC has not reviewed its guidelines or new evidence since 1996.
In 2013, the FCC requested public comment on whether the guidelines should be reviewed. In response, thousands of comments containing scientific evidence from researchers, doctors, and scientists, as well as citizens affected by wireless technology were filed. Despite these comments, the FCC reaffirmed its guidelines on December 2019. Following the FCC’s 2019 decision, the CHD, EHT, and other organization filed suit. The petitioners filed 11,000 pages of evidence of harm from 5G and wireless technology which the FCC ignored.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals found that the FCC failed to provide evidence supporting its decision not to update the guidelines and also failed to respond to the evidence that was filed with the FCC. The court wrote:
“the FCC completely failed to acknowledge, let alone respond to, comments concerning the impact of RF radiation on the environment…The record contains substantive evidence of potential environmental harms.”
The court stated that the FCC’s decision not to review the evidence undermined the Commission’s conclusions about the adequacy of its testing process. The Court ruled “the case be remanded to the commission to provide a reasoned explanation for its determination that its guidelines adequately protect against harmful effects of exposure to radiofrequency radiation.”
Overall, the court found that the FCC ignored numerous organizations, scientists, and medical doctors who asked the agency to study the long term impact of wireless exposure, specifically the impacts to children, wildlife, and the environment, and the testimonials of people injured by wireless radiation.
Scott McCollough, a telecommunication and administrative law attorney representing CHD and EHT, called the win “historic”.
“The FCC will have to re-open the proceeding and for the first time meaningfully and responsibly confront the vast amount of scientific and medical evidence showing that current guidelines do not adequately protect health and the environment,” McCollough stated after the hearing.
Dr. Devra Davis, president of Environmental Health Trust, stated the organization is “delighted” the court “upheld the rule of law and found that the FCC must provide a reasoned record of review for the thousands of pages of scientific evidence submitted by Environmental Health Trust and many other expert authorities in this precedent setting case. No agency is above the law.”
One of the organizations which submitted evidence to the FCC in 2013 was The American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP called for a review of safety limits to protect children and pregnant women. Dr. Jerome Paulson, former American Academy of Pediatrics Environmental Health Council Chair, said he was pleased with the court’s decision that the FCC “must adequately review this material before making a decision about new regulations of cell phones.”
Privacy and Security Dangers
While the lawsuit from CHD and EHT focused on health dangers, there are also privacy and security dangers posed by the growth of 5G wireless networks. There are a growing number of professionals, government agencies, civil rights attorneys, and activists asking important questions about the safety of the 5G Smart City future.
In April 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union released a guide detailing important questions that should be asked by city officials seeking to join the “Smart City evolution”. The guide is called “How to Prevent Smart Cities from Turning to Surveillance Cities”. In January 2019, Matt Cagle, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, told me that the ACLU recommends that cities considering rolling out “smart city” technology determine whether the technology is actually smart or beneficial for the city.
“Why do we ask… why do we say that? Well, that’s because you know smart city technology can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Cagle stated. “It can be another way for the government to amass information that it may not have wanted to collect for law enforcement purposes but that might be vulnerable to that sort of use later or that they may not have wanted to collect for immigration purposes but that could potentially be vulnerable to that later.”
There already exist a few examples of what a Smart City might resemble in coming years. In places like San Diego, activists are already fighting against privacy invasions via environmentally friendly smart streetlights that are always listening. As I have previously reported, these so-called Smart Cities, powered by 5G and 6G, have the potential to be digital prisons of The Great Reset.
Just this week The Intercept reported that the Biden Administration’s $1.2 trillion “Infrastructure Bill” includes a “Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation” initiative, where “state and urban planners would test how data-gathering devices and new vehicles can improve “transportation efficiency and safety.” The bill’s sponsors are especially interested in reducing traffic, enhancing access to jobs and health care, lowering pollution, and incentivizing private sector investments by working with communication service providers.”
As is often the case, Smart Cities are promoted as the environmentally friendly wave of the future, a necessary step in fighting climate change. The Intercept reports:
“The idea for the grant program borrows from the futuristic “smart city” concept that local governments nationwide and around the world — including in South Bend, Indiana, under the mayorship of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — have adopted in hopes of revitalizing business, health, and safety in poorer and congested communities. Often cheered on by major technology corporations seeking lucrative contracts, the concept envisions using high-speed networks of shared sensor data, known as the Internet of Things, to help manage the flow of people, commerce, and energy at reduced costs.”
Adam Schwartz, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Intercept that the measures in the bill amount to a “form of surveillance, often involving police, that invades privacy, deters protest in public places, and all-too-often disparately burdens people of color.” Schwartz said it is “unfortunate” that the bipartisan effort would invest “a half billion federal dollars in these troubling surveillance technologies, without adequate privacy safeguards.”
Even with these concerns, the bill has support from powerful politicians like Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York, the second most powerful Democrat on the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee. Clarke, The Intercept notes, is a proponent of smart city technology and argued the infrastructure bill actually doesn’t go far enough. Clarke told The Intercept in an email, “we need a coordinated effort by the entire federal agency apparatus to support the adoption of smart community infrastructure and technologies that will take our communities into the 21st Century.”
The “Infrastructure Bill” is currently being debated in the House before an expected vote in the coming week.
Clearly, the push for 5G-Smart City technology is not going anywhere. The fact is that 5G, Smart Cities, and wireless technology in general pose a grave danger to the health and privacy of the public. With the latest victory from the Environmental Health Trust and Children’s Health Defense we may see the tide begin to turn in favor of science, and away from the corruption of regulatory agencies which have been captured by Big Wireless.
Watch the victory press conferences from Children’s Health Defense and Environmental Health Trust: