5G Conspiracy Idiots Now Threatening Telecom Workers That Don't Even Work In Wireless

from the ill-communication dept

On one end, you’ve got wireless carriers implying that 5G is some type of cancer curing miracle (it’s not). On the other hand, we have oodles of conspiracy theorists, celebrities, and various grifters trying to claim 5G is some kind of rampant health menace (it’s not). In reality, 5G’s not actually interesting enough to warrant either position, but that’s clearly not stopping anybody in the post-truth era.

But it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

Baseless conspiracy theories about the health impact of 5G have gone next level during the pandemic. To the point where facts-optional nitwits are not only burning down cell towers in the UK, but putting razor blades and needles underneath protest posters on telephone poles (apparently you solve public health risks by… putting peoples’ health at risk?). We’ve seen a few attacks on telecom infrastructure and employees here in the States, but it’s been notably worse in the UK, where telecom engineers are now being routinely insulted and threatened:

“Most incidents could be classified as harassment. Shouted insults, death threats, and the like. But others were more violent. Razor blades and needles had been hidden behind posters on telephone poles, waiting to catch unwitting hands. Attackers had set cellphone masts on fire and shared the videos on social media to the applause of fellow conspiracists. According to figures shared with The Verge by industry body Mobile UK, there were more than 200 incidents of abuse against telecoms engineers since March 30th and more than 90 arson attacks against mobile infrastructure.”

The 5G conspiracy theorists are routinely bipartisan in nature. Some, on the left, originate from the “healing powers of crystals” and anti-vaccination set, and believe every shaky, worldview-confirming health claim they can get their hands on. Others, on the right, have stumbled into the 5G conspiracies thanks to their association with histrionic dog shit like Q Anon. In the UK, it’s at the point where technicians that don’t even work on wireless infrastructure have to tread carefully. Like the tech at the heart of the above-linked Verge article, who spends his days repairing fiber and DSL lines:

“She raised her voice almost immediately: ?You?re killing people. You know what you?re doing. How could you do this???

He tried to follow company training and not engage with the accusations, but the woman was getting more and more upset. 5G was causing the symptoms of COVID-19, she told him, and he was secretly installing the high-speed network under instructions from the local council. The woman was beginning to drag in bystanders at this point. She corralled a group of men who were drinking in the street and pointed Qureshi out to them. ?He?s the one who?s killing everyone,? she told them. ?He?s spreading all this virus.”

Apparently, it’s just too difficult to be able to distinguish between a DSL cabinet and a wireless tower? The problem isn’t being helped by the large number of grifting jackasses receiving unwarranted fame via social media. Or celebrities like John Cusack, who recently joined the chorus of 5G health conspiracies despite seemingly not understanding how the technology works (or that many flavors of 5G are actually far less powerful than even existing 4G networks).

Much of the recent popularity of idiotic conspiracy is driven by justified public distrust in our most important institutions. Many have lost faith in the health care system, government, news outlets, corporations, and leaders who’ve routinely prioritized profit over human health, the truth, or an equitable society. Fix the core rot at these institutions with an eye on a more equitable society, and much of the potency of conspiracy (not to mention Russia/Chinese/Iranian exploitation of said conspiracy) dissipates back into the the gullible fringes where it belongs.

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Comments on “5G Conspiracy Idiots Now Threatening Telecom Workers That Don't Even Work In Wireless”

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41 Comments
Koby (profile) says:

Here's Your Sign

We need to come up with some kind of counter-conspiracy, like say that Wyoming is the only place in the U.S. where the 5G signal will not reach, and popularize living inside a tin foil tent to block out the coronavirus rays. They can wait on the side of the mountain for the apocalypse, and then they won’t bother the rest of us.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Here's Your Sign

"…like say that Wyoming is the only place in the U.S. where the 5G signal will not reach, and popularize living inside a tin foil tent to block out the coronavirus rays."

Just let slip that inhaling dihydrogen monoxide prevents Covid. The news are already out about people drinking bleach, so we do have proof of concept already.

Anonymous Coward says:

"Some, on the left, originate from the "healing powers of crystals" and anti-vaccination set, and believe every shaky, worldview-confirming health claim they can get their hands on. Others, on the right, have stumbled into the 5G conspiracies thanks to their association with histrionic dog shit like Q Anon."

I was unaware that the healing crystals and anti-vac people fell on the left. I had thought these groups were comprised of low education and poverty rather than any one particular political pov. Similarly, I thought the Qanon folk were just batshit crazy.

Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The targets of Q Anon tend to be center right critics of Trump and everyone left leaning. They will actively ignore Trump’s connections to Epstein and the way he hired people involved in letting him off the first time treat everything he says as the word of god and believe secret trials and public executions are coming, so it’s fairly safe to say their supporters are firmly on the authoritarian right. Even if they weren’t at the start, that’s where they end up.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well that was a scary dive into mad conspiracy theories and half truths wrapped in a lot of paranoia about ‘the 1%’.

I am not sure if I should thank you for the entertainment or just go an lie down for a bit while pondering the futility of it all. People really believe that???

Anonymous Coward says:

5G is doing harm. Whenever carriers want to justify doing something malicious, from limiting competition to overcharging, they claim to credulous broadcast regulators that they need to be given free reign so that "they can bring 5G to communities". It’s a nice, shiny distraction… and the intent is to make 5G an even worse monopolistic (or duopolistic) nightmare than our existing mobile service and the ridiculous one-sided long-term "contracts" being foisted on consumers.

Whatever the finer points of distinction between a biological virus (such as COVID-19) and mere computer malware (such as DreckTV’s "Black Sunday" or DN’s "Americas Top One"), they miss the point. The problems have nothing to do with COVID… they involve taking what was a public resource (the free-to-air UHF TV channels 38-51) and selling them off for billions of dollars to the incumbent mobile telephone duopolies so that they may be repurposed to deliver more overpriced mobile data. That’s bringing in billions of dollars to governments, at the expense of the public interest. In some communities, the US government has paid broadcasters to take PBS off the air in individual communities (two of the four New Jersey Network transmitters, for instance) or move it to inferior channels (WGBH Boston and WQED Pittsburgh being the most notable) just so that now-valuable high-UHF channels can be sold to mobile telephone bandits for 5G. Atlantic City lost its only network affiliate (NBC 40, WMGM) when the station was bought by speculators hoping to sell its UHF broadcast spectrum to the government to feed the 5G bandits… that attempt failed, but only after both the NBC affiliation and the community’s only OTA TV news broadcast were both lost forever.

In Canada it’s worse. The stations are mostly owned by the networks, which are controlled by the same media companies that control the telephone and cable duopoly. They’re turning off TV stations in many small communities to avoid paying the costs of moving them to other channels to allow the 600MHz band to be sold off for 5G. And then there’s the whole question of whether to allow the network to be built with cheap made-in-commie-China gear and all of the security issues which that raises. And yes, the CRTC is even worse than the FCC as a broadcast regulator that’s in business to bend over for a few large incumbent carriers instead of protecting the public interest.

I see no overriding public benefit to 5G as it fails to address the most serious problems with our existing mobile service – it’s overpriced, it’s monopolised by a handful of robber barons, it provides uneven coverage where the beaten path has signal while the rest of the country gets nothing – while creating new problems. Pity that our mainstream media is too distracted by COVID to cover anything else.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
K`Tetch (profile) says:

I can "Trump" it.

friend of mine is spreading a bunch of this 5G bullshit.

He’s a systems engineer at British Telecom… and has been since the teledot (or ‘pre-bugler’) days. His garage is all full of BT scrap from exchange gear he’s ripped out – we even made a motor controller system using 50v ringer contacts – the ones that were used to send the ring signals to peoples phones that were only just being removed 20 years ago (despite the exchanges going digital 30 years ago). We’ve even worked on a whole bunch of radio projects together, and yet he doesn’t ‘get’ that 5G is nothing….

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The problem is that is is all pseudo-science. Some of the facts are true but taken out of context – these idiots take the bad bits and ignore anything that gets in the way of their story.

Some of what I have read had some small basis in truth but then jumps to a wildly inaccurate assumption and continues as though that is fact too. I can see how the uneducated can fall for it as they do not have the breadth of knowledge to realise the leap is just that. A lot of it was complete cr4p spouted by charlatan ‘scientists’ though.

Then add in the ‘Government is out to get you’ conspiracy nuts to cap it off…

It is worth a Google search and a bit of a scroll around – quite an eye opener

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"The problem is that is is all pseudo-science. Some of the facts are true but taken out of context – these idiots take the bad bits and ignore anything that gets in the way of their story. "

And unfortunately the parts that "get into the way of the story" tend to be fairly significant.

A number of these conspiracy theories would make perfect sense – if you ignored conservation of energy, the existence of gravity, that people can stand in direct sunlight without going up like roman candles, or the fact that too much of a good thing . like that King of Toxins, Dihydrogen Monoxide – will indeed be fatal without that necessarily being a Really Bad Thing.

Sadly it always ends up in a number of gullible idiots falling for spun, twisted, broken, inaccurate or outright false data combined with a decent story. Not rarely with someone at the start having a profit motive in making gullible dumbasses believe in nonexistent threats he could sell a "cure" to.

The anti-vaxxers are a case in point, starting with a discredited physician who’d just started a witch doctor practice offering high-priced "cures" for "vaccine-related" autism right before he twisted a bundle of data to come up with a correlation between vaccination and various forms of NPF. Wakefield has a lot to answer for.

So the question is who stands to gain by propagating the 5G-causes-covid nonsense?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"…but he still appeals to those fools for some reason."

Worse. Chonky Doctor Horrible now has the extra smidgen of folksy appeal and the "Look-at-me-I-dun-goofed-again" punchline that always gets him votes with the british audience.

I swear, if the brits had any sense at all they’d beat him at his own game and set John Cleese up as a candidate against him. The real laugh is in that I strongly suspect a UK officially run by monty python might have better leadership than they’ve had since Churchill…

MULTI DIMENSIONAL BEING says:

The sad part about your article is the fact that there is a price to pay for such advance technology. However please do not take my word for it go on google.com and search 5G; scholarly articles here you will find proven data and work studies that state the total opposite of what you are trying to spread across the entire world. You must be an otamatone, more of you are coming out of the ass crack of the web to try and keep the people stagnant and dumb. but let me be the one to tell you, your opinion hold NO TRUTH, NO FACT. it’s 2020 the year of evolution and more and MORE people are shedding the idea of constantly listening to ass wipes who think they have all mighty power and knowledge when truth is you dont..obviously! That’s why over 42 different cities and regions have banned 5G for HEALTH REASONS. Get your shit together bruh.

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