WiFi Fear Kills Free Local WiFi Plan

from the this-again? dept

Every so often we hear stories about very concerned adults freaking out over the supposed “harm” that WiFi does. The latest, as pointed out by Broadband Reports is that a bunch of folks up in Sebastopol (a ways north of San Francisco) <a href=”http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2008/03/hazards-of-wifi.html target=”_new”>have convinced the town to cancel plans for an ISP to offer free WiFi in the downtown area. This wasn’t “muni-WiFi.” This was just an ISP that asked for, and was granted, permission to put up some free WiFi access points in the downtown area. There are just a few problems with this, with the first one being the simple fact that there’s no evidence that WiFi does any harm whatsoever or is even noticeable by those who claim “electrical sensitivity.” Double-blind tests have showed that those who claimed they could sense the electricity cannot. The radiation from a year’s worth of WiFi is equal to 20 minutes on a mobile phone, and even the health implications of mobile phone radiation is very much in dispute. However, the real killer point is that you can bet that there’s already probably plenty of WiFi “radiation” in the same downtown area from any local store that probably set up its own WiFi network.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “WiFi Fear Kills Free Local WiFi Plan”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Doc AL says:

Wacko Fanatics...

People have nothing better to do. Just because they are miserable about their own lives, they gotta bring everyone else down. Those studies about cell phone radiation is incunclusive. I work in the radiation field, 40hrs a week, 250 days a year and the doses I recieve are minimal. You have a better chance of getting radiated just by being out in the sun. If you ask me, those individuals are WACKO.

dsgsdf says:

it sounds like both the city and the company that wanted to install the hotspots don’t have any experience with risk communication.

When it comes to outrage, simply spouting off numbers like a robot only increases the publics’ outrage, regardless of the accuracy of the numbers.

As idiotic as the public may seem, the city/company has to acknowledge the outrage and bring the public into the discussion to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion. Usually, giving the public some form of control over the operation goes a long way to silencing the critics, or better yet, making them part of the solution. It’s a pain in the ass, but much better than having no wi-fi.

Anonymous Coward says:

I Was In Sebastopol Last Weekend

And the above poster is correct. Total hippie town – for better or for worse.

The thing is, most former hippies have realized that their views were a little extreme back in the day, and moderated somewhat as they re-entered the mainstream. Those that remain are the extreme, die-hard hippies, and a new generation of neo-hippies.

The radiation expert above who said: “You have a better chance of getting radiated just by being out in the sun.” This is true — especially since these Sebastopol-types won’t wear sunblock “because it’s carcinogenic”.

These types find the boogie-man in every vestige of modern life. They ache for a simpler time, when technology and mass production didn’t de-humanize mankind. You know, a simpler time like the feudal system, the days of the black plague, the dark ages, slavery, the great ol’ caveman days of yore…where life expectancy was 34 years, you had as many human rights as you could beat with a club, and bathing occurred every time you fell in the river.

Really. There are extremists on the Right Wing of politics who seem to ache for a “simpler time”, these 1950s perfect crew-cut years, even if they were barely an ephemeral whisper in the 400,000 year history of mankind. Meanwhile, the hippies on the other end of the spectrum, yearn for a simpler time that never existed.

Sad to say it people, but yearning for unlikely outcomes, when you are but one of six billion, is kinda self-indulgent. Get on the bus, or get hit by the bus.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Illogically Scared

> However, the real killer point is that you can
> bet that there’s already probably plenty of
> WiFi “radiation” in the same downtown area from
> any local store that probably set up its own
> WiFi network.


This is roughly analogous to the folks who make such a huge deal out of smokers who stand near the entrances to buildings and smoke. They complain about the health effects of having to walk through a noxious cloud of smoke as they go into or out of a building, all the while oblivious to the fact that the pollution from the exhaust pipes of cars and trucks passing by not 10 feet away on the street is a hundred times more noxious and the average time of exposure is far greater than the 2 seconds it takes to walk through someone’s cigarette smoke, which (when outside) begins to attenuate almost immediately.

Lucretious (profile) says:

What do you want from a population of morons that beleives crystals have magical properties, that Feng-Shui is something other than a ridiculous piece if superstitious clap-trap simply because the Chinese have been using it for “thousands of years” (the same scientific principles that no doubt leads to taking powdered horn of a black rhino to improve libido). Junk science and medicine is a way of life in that part of the country.

Lucas says:


i actualy live in sebastopol, and the people who rejected this plan were few, but they were also loud and stupid. i mean, who the fuck rejects FREE wi fi!?! someone compared it to people rejecting electricity or phones. yes, mabe it could hurt you, but only if your stupid! luckily, the youth population is pissed and trying to get it back

Angela Flynn says:


I had a wireless router in my bedroom for two years. Ater a year and a half I developed a full body muscle, ache, creaky joints and could not sleep or concentrate enough to read a book. After I got rid of the router my symptoms went away. I have spent the last year researching this. If you dismiss the over 2,000 studies in the http://www.bioinitiative.org, then sure it is just some nutty people like me who are reporting harm from this non-ionizing radiation. Wake up already. Cell phones cause brain tumors. People living near cell towers are in constant exposure and the effects are cummulative. Long term low level exposure can be worse than short term high level. There are microwaves. The level may be on slow cook, but it is still cooking. Another good website to check out is http://www.emrpolicy.org

Kevin (user link) says:

Reality vs. Morality vs. Society

The simple answer is:
You are born, you hope to mature, and you die.
The real question is:
Did you do your best to live your life the way you wanted, and did you help those you could, live thier life the way they wanted.
The answer is:
How would we know if you didn’t blog it! You didn’t blog it because there wasn’t FREE Wi-Fi downtown and you were hit by a drunk driver on the way home to your desktop with it’s own radiation poising you from the monitor…
Hmmm. Wonder if the Amish have it figured out.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...