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Citizens' dialogue on the 5G mobile network: conspiracy theorists in the German government's online forum


The Ministry of Transport wants to take away citizens' fears of 5G. But in the specially set up forum, users claim that the mobile network is killing birds and accelerating the corona pandemic.

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"We counter false information with scientific facts" - there are conspiracy theories surrounding 5G

Photo: Boris Roessler / DPA

The federal government wants to take away citizens' fears of the new 5G mobile communications standard with an awareness campaign.

The Ministry of Transport has set up the so-called dialogue office for this purpose.

Employees of the initiative should answer questions in an online forum, among other things.

The pin board is currently more of a lure of conspiracy theorists, who spread crude stories about the turbo cellular network.

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In the forum, users blame 5G for the mass extinction of a flock of birds in Switzerland, where more than 100 starlings fell from the sky.

"No bird dies in the air unless it is a microwave attack," says the article.

But 5G has nothing to do with the incident, as an investigation by Correctiv shows, among other things.

In the forum, bee deaths are also blamed on radio technology.

There is also a lack of scientific evidence for this.

Users are not even afraid of links to the corona pandemic.

In the forum, for example, it is claimed that 5G radiation would cause symptoms similar to Covid-19 and that the infections in Wuhan were only triggered by 5G.

While Facebook and Twitter mark something like this as false reports or delete it, it remains on the government side.

With facts against false reports

The 5G dialogue office sees no problem in this.

“We don't offer a platform for conspiracy theories,” a spokeswoman for the initiative told SPIEGEL.

A moderated dialogue is offered and the aim is to refute myths and misinformation by referring to relevant sources and articles.

"We counter false information with scientific facts."

It could happen that posts are deleted.

But only if a commenter is “offensive to us or other users”.

Then get in touch with the authors.

Absurd theory remain.

So far "not a single post has been deleted," said the spokeswoman.

If you can no longer find your post, you should first check the order on the page, because the list can also be sorted by posts that are most often marked with "Like" or are discussed a lot.

According to the spokeswoman, it also happens that users enter an email address that is not theirs and therefore cannot click on the confirmation link.

Then your contribution does not appear at all.

Federal government wants more speed with the expansion

There are currently more than 350 posts listed on the site.

The questions in it are to be answered by employees of the dialogue office in the coming days.

Government representatives and radiation protection experts had already answered some questions at the opening event on Tuesday evening.

In a 90-minute online question and answer session, Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) made it clear, among other things, that the 5G expansion is going too slowly for him.

In the live YouTube video, Scheuer said that there had been a lot of discussions and quarrels in city councils and local councils during the 5G expansion.

"We can no longer afford the long approval times in international competition."

Users also asked if trees need to be felled for 5G masts.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) referred to strict environmental protection in Germany in the YouTube clip.

Is 5G radiation dangerous to health?

Physics professor Achim Enders from the TU Braunschweig replied that within the applicable limit values, no effects on animals and humans were traceable.

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection has set these limit values ​​in order to protect people from health hazards caused by electromagnetic fields.

The authority is guided by the recommendations of the International Commission on Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation and the Commission on Radiological Protection.

Cell phone antennas in the 3.6 gigahertz range must not exceed an electrical field strength of 61 volts per meter, a magnetic field strength of 0.16 amps per meter and thus a power density of ten watts per square meter.

The Federal Network Agency checks whether these values ​​are adhered to.

Decided 5G opponents were not involved in the expert panel on YouTube, which some citizens criticize.

It was not a real discussion with the citizens, criticized one user in the comments and wrote: "That was not a neutral dialogue, but an advertising event."

In fact, some unanswered questions have been lost in the discussion so far.

Because 5G masts have a lower transmission effect than LTE masts.

However, significantly more radio towers are required, which are installed closer to places where people are.

Last year, the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation warned that a "massive increase in forced exposure to radio waves" was to be expected.

In addition, the 5G frequencies currently used in the range between two and four gigahertz have been well researched, but higher frequencies of 26 gigahertz are also to be used in the future.

There are hardly any studies on this to date.

Inge Paulini, President of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, announced that research into the effects of the 5G network would continue.

The worries of electro-sensitive people are also taken very seriously, but cannot currently attribute the problem to mobile communications.

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Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2020-12-05

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