Friday, August 09, 2019

Court Vacates FCC Dereg of Cell Tower-Site Reviews

Vacates and remands that portion of larger deregulatory order back to commission

Turns out the race to 5G can't run roughshod over the landscape, at least as the FCC has proposed it.
In a partial defeat for the FCC and a victory for localities trying to retain their authority over cell tower placement and impact, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FCC did not justify its deregulation of small cell site historic and environmental reviews and has vacated that part of a larger wireless deployment deregulation order.
Over the objections of local government officials and the reservations of Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC voted last September to streamline the path to small cell deployment, including the part on site reviews, billing it as crucial to the rollout of 5G wireless service, an FCC and Trump Administration priority.
The FCC argued that such reviews were not statutorily required, would impede the rollout of 5G networks, and that their costs outweighed any benefit. But as with many FCC decisions, opponents went to court.
That court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit*, said it did not buy the FCC's argument that such reviews "pose little to no cognizable religious, cultural, or environmental risk," in particular given "the vast number of proposed deployments and the reality that the Order will principally affect small cells that require new construction," the court said.
The court found that the FCC did not adequately address the potential harms of deregulation or the benefits of environmental and historic-preservation reviews, particularly for Indian lands that "may include Tribal burial grounds, land vistas, and other sites that Tribal Nations...regard as sacred or otherwise culturally significant."
For that reason, the court said, the FCC's regulatory order on small cells is arbitrary and capricious. (It did not vacate the changes the FCC made to tribe's participation in the reviews).
The court vacated that part of the order and remanded it back to the FCC, which could try to better justify it.
The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and supporting intervenors had challenged the order.
"This confirms that the FCC cannot just scream "5G" to justify ignoring its duties to Tribal Nations and to the environment," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Georgetown University Law Center, a lawyer who represented the challengers. "The decision does give the FCC more latitude than we would prefer on some of the mechanisms for tribal review, but we will deal with that on the remand."
A spokesperson for FCC chair Ajit Pai had not response, referring the call to commissioner Brendan Carr, who championed the tower citing deregulatory item.
Carr suggested the legal glass was still mostly full.
“This FCC has been focused on cutting red tape so that all Americans, regardless of where they live, can have access to fast, affordable connections, including through our world-leading 5G," he said. "Combined, the FCC’s actions have enabled the U.S. to leapfrog our global competitors and secure the largest 5G build in the world.
“I am pleased that the court upheld key provisions of last March’s infrastructure decision. Most importantly, the court affirmed our decision that parties cannot demand upfront fees before reviewing any cell sites, large or small. These fees, which had grown exponentially in the last few years, created incentives for frivolous reviews unrelated to any potential impact on historic sites. Those financial incentives are gone, and we expect our fee restrictions to continue greatly diminishing unnecessary and costly delays. I’m also pleased that the court affirmed our accelerated timelines for reviews. Already, these reforms have resulted in significant new builds."
“We are reviewing the portion of last March’s decision that the D.C. Circuit did not affirm and look forward to next steps, as appropriate."
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel saw it a bit differently.
“The court just vacated a large part of the FCC’s 5G deployment strategy,"" she said. "For those paying attention, that means the agency tasked with the future of connectivity didn’t get it right. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and do better.”
"The FCC has rightfully sought to modernize outdated siting rules to accelerate the deployment of 5G technologies, and it’s been working," said Tom Power, SVP and general counsel for CTIA, which weighed in with the court in support of the FCC. "These reforms are pushing America ahead in the global 5G race and are critical to maintaining our wireless leadership. We are pleased that the court affirmed some of these steps today, particularly with respect to fees and deadlines for siting reviews. The court’s decision also underscores the need for further legislative, judicial and regulatory action to remove barriers to deployment."
*Editor's note: The court decision likely got more immediate and wider attention than it might otherwise as reporters watched the D.C. court side for another FCC decision--net neutrality, which did not come out Friday. 

Video - Measuring the pulses from a smart meter

Wow - The sound effects on this video really drive the point home.  6 minutes.

A 'smart meter' was recently placed on this house. It replaced a safe electricity meter that was perfectly servicable and did not need to be changed. The meter is located on the outside wall of a bedroom. The microwave radiation from the meter, penetrates through the brick wall and engulfs the bedroom in very strong, very dangerous microwave radiation. Other areas of the house are also affected, to a lessor extent and the resident reports ill health effects since the meter was installed.
The radio frequency meter shows how strong the radiation is and the sound illustrates how ofter the meter is transmitting. These Smart meters have been badly named, there is nothing smart about an electricity meter that harms people, animals and the environment.
Festival Hydro, who installed these meters throughout Stratford, now face huge liability issues from citizens who are made ill from the radiation.


IEEE: 5G Base Stations Expected to Use Roughly 3X as Much Power As 4G Base Stations and More Are Needed to Cover Same Area. That Ain’t Eco-Friendly!

Concerned about your carbon footprint and everybody else’s?
Research has proven that exposure to 5G can cause excessive sweating and excessively sweating people are surely going to crank up the A/C which means increased energy usage.  Research has also proven that 5G makes phones and modems overheat and users are being encouraged to crank up their A/C to remedy this which also means increased energy usage.
Now IEEE has announced that a 5G base station is generally expected to consume roughly 3X times as much power as a 4G base station:
A 5G base station is generally expected to consume roughly three times as much power as a 4G base station. And more 5G base stations are needed to cover the same area.
So there’s that too.

As for the bees and other insects, they’re just plain screwed if 5G continues to be installed worldwide.  Of course, in the long run, we all will be no matter how consistently and earnestly we try to reduce our carbon footprints in other ways.

Police Used Streetlamps To Spy On The Public More Than 140 Times

Gone are the days when cities used streetlamps to simply illuminate sidewalks and streets. Today’s streetlamps are being used to form an inter-connected web of surveillance devices.
A recent San Diego Union-Tribune article revealed how San Diego police officers have used streetlamp video surveillance in at least 140 cases and sometimes as frequently as 20 times a month.
Let that sink in for a moment; spying streetlamps are real and police have already requested video footage from more than 140 streetlamps.
Lt. Jeffery Jordon called spying streetlamps “game changing” and that is exactly how they should be viewed. Streetlamps that are designed to spy on the public, really is a game changer.
San Diego’s streetlamps are also equipped with ShotSpotter microphones that police claim are not being used to listen to public conversations.
Should we believe them?
Could police use ShotSpotter to listen to public conversations? Nearly a decade ago, the East Bay Times revealed how the Oakland Police used ShotSpotter to record public conversations.
It was only three years ago when the NJ Transit secretly used DriveCam’s LTYX camerasequipped with microphones to listen to public conversations.
So just what is law enforcement using these streetlamps for?
No one knows for sure; but a spokesperson for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said that a citywide policy to regulate the use of the microphones and cameras in streetlamps is “under development.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune claims that 100 police officers have direct access to streetlamp surveillance and said that nearly every one of the department’s 1,800 police officers can request access.
Just how concerned is the City Council that law enforcement is using streetlamps as surveillance devices?
Apparently not very much, as City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery admitted, by saying that she’s “open to exploring” oversight of the program.
In what dystopian nightmare are we living in, where listening and watching everything we do in public is “under development” or “open to oversight”?
Over the past few years, I have written numerous stories about smart streetlamp/streetlight surveillance.
Police are also using streetlamps equipped with things like Smart Nodes and secret facial recognition cameras to identify Bluetooth devices and people. More recently, I warned everyone that law enforcement is using GE’s CityIQ street lights and Intellistreets to identify people. (Click here to learn more about SKYEYE streetlamps.)
But this story is far more disturbing than those because as the San Diego Union-Tribune points out, politicians and police think nothing of using streetlamps to track people in real-time.
Streetlamp cameras allowed Detective Carlos Muñoz to track the attacker to a 7-11, where in-store cameras and a credit card purchase helped identify him.
How could police track an alleged attacker to a 7-11 unless they have real-time access to streetlamp videos?
Instead of sending off warning bells in City Hall, the city council plans on adding more spying streetlamps. And that should disturb everyone.
The city currently has rolled out about 3,200 streetlamp cameras and expects to have about 4,200 by next summer. General Electric and government officials have promoted the system as the “world’s largest smart city platform.”

Turning San Diego into the “world’s largest smart city platform” takes on a whole new meaning when you realize that the city has at least 40,000 streetlamps.
Can you imagine an entire city covered with 40,000 spying streetlamps? Can you imagine America being blanketed with more than 26 million spying streetlamps?
The prospect of having that many surveillance devices in one city is unnerving to say the least. But the prospect of having 26 million spying streetlamps operating across the country is terrifying.

FCC Proposes No Change of Its RF Standards

What a shock!


After six years of study, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided not to revise its current safety limits for RF radiation. The rules, which were first adopted in 1996 and are the only ones governing cell phone exposures in the U.S., will continue to be based only on thermal effects.

“After a thorough review of the record and consultation with [the FDA and other health] agencies, we find it appropriate to maintain the existing radiofrequency limits, which are among the most stringent in the world for cell phones,” said Julius Knapp, the chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology.
Some had wanted the FCC to harmonize its limits with those of ICNIRP, which are considerably more permissive for cell phone exposures. The ICNIRP standard is 2 W/Kg, averaged over 10 g of tissue, while the FCC limit is 1.6 W/Kg over 1 g. The larger averaging volume alone makes the ICNIRP standard less stringent by two- to threefold (see MWN, J/A00, p.8).
In the FCC announcement, issued today, Chairman Ajit Pai cites the support of Jeffrey Shuren, the director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits…” Shuren told the FCC, adding, “No changes to the current standards are warranted at this time.”
FCC officials said at a press briefing that there’s “nothing special about 5G,” according to a report from CNET. They went on to argue that the scientific evidence to date indicates that, in terms of causing health effects, 5G is no different from any other cellular technology, including 4G or 3G. The higher-frequency signals (millimeter waves) used to deliver 5G also pose no health risk, they said, pointing out that the existing RF exposure guidelines apply to 5G.
The FCC first announced its plan to review the agency’s RF rules in March 2013 in a 200-page filing.
For more on the FCC and RF safety, go here.

Austrian parliament commissions study on 5G health effects

The Austrian parliament has commissioned a study into the health effects of 5G networks due to concerns among the public the new generation of mobile services could pose risks from increased radiation exposure. 
The Advisory Council on Technology Assessment of the Austrian Parliament has decided to obtain expertise in the field and appointed a consortium of the Institute for Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Austrian Institute of Technology to conduct a study. The research institutes already provide the parliament with scientific advice on many topics. 
The study is expected to be ready by January 2020, providing an overview of the latest research on the topic. The report will be published on the parliament's website.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Pentagon launching ‘solar spy balloons’ over midwest, documents reveal

The United States military intends to test a number of surveillance balloons over six states. The future deployment of these high-altitude surveillance balloons was revealed in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) document filing.
The balloons will not be piloted and will run on solar power. South Dakota will serve as the official launch spots for the balloons, with navigational radiuses of 250 miles. If you live in Wisconsin, Iowa, or even Missouri, you could be under experimental surveillance in the near future. The balloons will reach altitudes of over 60,000 feet, far beyond any human eye detectable ranges. The balloons will be used to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotics trafficking and homeland security threats.”
The balloons will be equipped with cutting edge technologies, such as powerful radars that can track cars and trucks. Weather won’t discourage the success of the spy balloons missions, either, as they are equipped to endure most types of weather activities.
Of course, it is difficult to ignore the full potential of such high-altitude spy devices. In an article found in The Guardian, Arthur Holland Michel, the co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in New York, said, “What this new technology proposes is to watch everything at once. Sometimes it’s referred to as ‘combat TiVo’ because when an event happens somewhere in the surveilled area, you can potentially rewind the tape to see exactly what occurred, and rewind even further to see who was involved and where they came from.”
The “everything at once” line should feel a bit unsettling, at least if you are concerned with big government spying. Such technology means common Americans have little place to hide from surveillance. It’s one thing to turn off Alexa or your iPhone, it is far another to hide in a bunker for the rest of your life. Of course, nothing in the description of these surveillance balloons implies that the technology will be used to spy on us. But that’s never disclosed in any technology. The spying events are usually “accidents” or the work of “rogue employees.” Both Google and Amazon claimed they never intended to spy on us using high-tech personal assistants such as Alexa, but they did.
The US Southern Command (Southcom) commissioned the release of these spy balloons. Southcom is responsible for defense agendas in Central and South America. Mainly, they aim to cut off large shipments of drugs.
The ACLU is firing back, however, saying that American citizens have a right to privacy.
“We do not think that American cities should be subject to wide-area surveillance in which every vehicle could be tracked wherever they go,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Even in tests, they’re still collecting a lot of data on Americans: who’s driving to the union house, the church, the mosque, the Alzheimer’s clinic,” he said. “We should not go down the road of allowing this to be used in the United States and it’s disturbing to hear that these tests are being carried out, by the military no less.”
Sierra Nevada, the technology company tasked with supplying Southcom with spy technology, previously distributed planes for use in Central and South American operations. But planes are expensive in terms of fuel usage and flight crews. Solar spy balloons save tremendous money and ultimately, would be less detectable making them more effective.
In other words, US government surveillance just got super cheap and easy. The balloons can stay in the air for months at a time. Some believe these balloons may be able to provide improved cell phone and Internet services. Could the 5G health risk activists have yet another concern?
surveillance balloons midwest
Google earth picture of South Dakota surveillance balloon launch station.

The bitter truth remains, we can’t trust our government with spying technology. Yes, it’s always been among us, but new technology is bolstering its potential to unfathomable heights (pun intended). Our devices consistently track us, now the government can literally follow us as we drive to the store from 60,000 feet away. It will all be accomplished under the guise of more “safety and security.”
As a group, we are trading our civil liberties for perceived improved security. If history tells us anything, we aren’t likely to win that battle.