5G disinformation: It’s time to tell the truth

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Marek Zagórski, Polish Minister of Digital Affairs

There are many myths concerning 5G networks and electromagnetic fields. The vast majority of them stem from a lack of proper knowledge. Europe should dispel the doubts of the people who are looking for answers, writes Marek Zagórski, Polish Minister of Digital Affairs.

In June this year, Poland presented English version of ‘The Electromagnetic Field and People’ White book. We wrote it for everyone who wants to know how a telecommunications network works, what an electromagnetic field is, and how it can affect the human body. It is crucial to offer people proven, credible, and reliable sources, which allow them to seek answers from experts in their respective fields, instead of anonymous sources on the Internet.

A year ago, when the White book was originally released in Poland, we did not think that a year later, we would have to continue our fight against disinformation concerning mobile networks, particularly 5G technology. This disinformation is driven not by the concern for human health, but is an important element of the technology race. It is in the best interest of all of us in Europe to undertake educational activities on the broadest possible scale and Poland has a lot of experience and expertise in this area already.

That is why we are about to launch a broad educational campaign, concerning both telecommunications networks, constituting critical infrastructure in the 21st century, and their possible impact on health. The campaign will be addressed to all communities, thus making it a ‘shield of knowledge’, protecting us from disinformation.

We have witnessed many attacks on telecommunications infrastructure in Europe this year. We underestimated the power of disinformation, the impact it has on people and the way it drives them to commit various acts. This is a transnational issue, and as such, it should be addressed transnationally, on the basis of sound scientific knowledge and reliable information.

It should become a matter of priority, especially seeing how in today’s world, telecommunications is about more things than just smartphones – it encompasses a whole range of services based on mobile networks.

Without telecommunications, we would be unable to pay with our cards at stores or be mobile at work and in education. Companies would not be able to remotely supervise their car fleet and supply chains. I believe that security and the need to have a way to contact emergency services goes without saying.  In fact, until it is repaired, every telecommunications mast and tower that burns down in a rural area sets its development back by several decades.

Therefore, if we do not act strategically and in a coordinated manner in Europe now, we will certainly be outmatched, while trying to counteract the actions of actors, who are opposed to the digital development of our continent.

One of the most important activities undertaken by the National Institute of Telecommunications, the National Research Institute in Poland, is the SI2PEM system (Information System on Installations Generating Electromagnetic Field), which is currently being developed.

After processing data from a number of sources, it will display on a digital map the spatial distribution of electromagnetic field anywhere in the country. The system will also be helpful for professionals in locating radio transmitters. We are building it based on reliable data from measurements carried out by accredited laboratories. The system will be ready later this year, and in the following years, it will be successively developed, with new features added to it. We also have plans to install 300 stationary EMF measurement stations all over Poland, operating continuously.

According to the research community gathered in Poland around the National Institute of Telecommunications, “the fear of electromagnetic field in connection with 5G networks is completely unjustified, especially given how the maximum power used in mobile networks decreases with each subsequent generation of mobile devices entering the market.”

“In comparison, the power of a 2G mobile terminals was 2W, for 3G, it was 0.25W, while 4G and 5G terminals use only 0.2W,” Jerzy Żurek, Phd, Director of the Institute says.

In December this year, for the fifth year in a row, the Ministry of Digital Affairs will join forces with the National Institute of Telecommunications and organize an international conference on electromagnetic field and telecommunications. I take this opportunity to invite everyone interested in this topic to participate in this event, as well as those willing to share their experiences – the list of speakers is still open.

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