Six More Years of Unconstitutional Surveillance

By David Ruiz, January 11, 2018; Original article here.

House Fails to Protect Americans from Unconstitutional NSA Surveillance

The House of Representatives cast a deeply disappointing vote today to extend NSA spying powers for the next six years by a 256-164 margin. In a related vote, the House also failed to adopt meaningful reforms on how the government sweeps up large swaths of data that predictably include Americans’ communications.

Because of these votes, broad NSA surveillance of the Internet will likely continue, and the government will still have access to Americans’ emails, chat logs, and browsing history without a warrant. Because of these votes, this surveillance will continue to operate in a dark corner, routinely violating the Fourth Amendment and other core constitutional protections.

From Related Ruiz Jan 8 Article:

“About” collection is an invasive type of NSA surveillance that the agency ended last year, after years of criticism from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which provides judicial oversight on Section 702. This type of collection allows the NSA to tap the Internet’s backbone and collect communications that are simply “about” a targeted individual. The messages do not have to be “to” or “from” the individual. The new proposal to expand Section 702 regrettably includes a path for the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to restart “about” collection. It is a model that we saw in an earlier Section 702 reauthorization bill in 2017. Read Github’s letter opposing this bill here.

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Verizon Global Investments

by Bruce Kushnick 01/11/2018 01:53 pm ET; original article here.

Verizon Has Invested in 470+ Companies/Entities, Worldwide

When you pay your Telecommunications bills, do you ever wonder where all the money goes? Verizon Communications, Inc. had a 5% or more interest in these 470+ companies/entities at the end of 2016. While the company pleads poverty and claims it can’t afford, or won’t, build out and maintain their networks, have funds been transferred for investments worldwide, including to Bulgaria, Iran, India or Estonia?

Or worse, in the Net Neutrality decision, how can the FCC quote research that uses the construction budget of the entire holding company, which has hundreds of companies, to claim that ‘Title II’ harmed the ISP investments in US broadband deployment? (And what does NCC Charlie, NCC Delta and NCC Echo Company do, exactly?)

Note: This is a partial list and doesn’t include Yahoo, for example, which closed in June 2017. (Source: Verizon NY 2016 Annual Report, published June 2017.)

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Federal Court Dismisses Crown Castle Complaint Against Rye, NY

Federal Court dismisses Crown Castle NG East LLC’s complaint and finds that the City of Rye, NY properly undertook a SEQRA review of Crown’s request to install dozens of mini cellphone tower’s throughout the City.

On Friday December 8, 2017, Judge Briccetti granted the City’s motion to dismiss Crown Castle’s complaint finding that the City did not violate the 1996 Telecommunications Act (“TCA”) when it rendered a Positive Declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

According to Rye Mayor Joseph A. Sack:

“This Order recognizes the importance of a diligent review process that includes a review of the potential environmental impacts of installation of small cells. The City considered varying points of view and to have Judge Briccetti affirm that we have acted in accordance with federal law is gratifying.”

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Hillsborough Opposes So-Called “Small Cell” Cellphone Towers

Residents of Hillsborough have been protesting plans to build 16 so-called “Small Cell” cellphone towers in their town and it looks like their efforts have paid off. Kiet Do reports. (12/21/17)

See KPIX news coverage here.

Patrick Shannon, an attorney who specializes in government regulation:

The issue is not over. What we really need now is to reform our process of government so that the citizens have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the process. We are going to seek reforms to ensure that that happens.


Verizon has the option to appeal to the full City Council within 15 days.

I spoke to Katharine Leroux, Hillsborough City Manager at Noon on 1/4/18. She confirmed that on 1/4/18 Verizon appealed her decision to the Hillsborough City Council. She posted the Crown Castle Appeal to

  • Hillsborough City Manager decision letter here
  • Disucssion about Part V of the decision here
  • Transcript from 12/7/17 hearing here

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Feb 5 Reinventing Wires Event

The Future of Landlines & Wireline Broadband Networks

A new report to be issued by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP), Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks, concludes that blanketing the nation’s residential neighborhoods with densified so-called "Small Cell" cell towers is technologically unsound, unsustainable and will not meet the nation’s immediate or long-term communications needs.

JOIN US at the Commonwealth Club Feb 5, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

  • 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
  • Registration begins at 5:00 p.m.
  • Reception with panelists following the program until 7:45 p.m.
  • $8.00 members, $20.00 non-members, $7.00 students

Panelists biographies listed here:

  • Timothy Schoechle, PhD; more info here
  • Martin L. Pall, PhD; more info here
  • Duncan A. Campbell, Esq.; more info here
  • James S. Turner, Esq.; more info here
  • Camilla Rees, Panel Co-Chair; more info here
  • Ellen Marks, Panel Co-Chair; more info here

Dr. Timothy Schoechle:

Government officials have been misled about the adequacy of wireless communications. Legislators should stop enabling the wireless industry’s plans for massive new deployments of 4G LTE and soon 5G millimeter wave antennas throughout American neighborhoods, and instead commit to supporting reliable, energy-efficient and enduring hard-wired telecommunications infrastructure that meets the nation’s immediate and long-term needs.

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Microwave Radiation Coming to a Lamppost Near You

Merinda Teller, MPH, PhD 12/1/17; Read the original article here.

In an exceptionally short period of time, cellular technologies have become a dominant fixture of modern-day life. When the first clunky cell phones became commercially available in the early 1980s, only the military and “affluent geeks” could afford the four-thousand-dollar price tag.1 A mere three decades later, more than three-fourths (77 percent) of all Americans willingly spend hundreds of dollars for sleek smartphones (a proportion that has more than doubled since 2011)2, and more and more people rely on their smartphones as their sole computer.3 Global projections indicate that over six billion people worldwide will be using a smartphone by 2020.4

Most current cell phone carriers offer fourth-generation (4G or 4G LTE) wireless cellular service, which represents the latest iteration in the “exponential evolution” that began with analog first-generation (1G) service in the early 1980s.5 Each subsequent decade has ushered in a new generation of mobile networks, with 2G going digital in the early 1990s, 3G emerging in the early 2000s and implementation of 4G/4G LTE unfolding in the early part of the current decade.

With the advent of the dramatically faster 4G service — the first generation designed primarily for data rather than voice — mobile phone users have been able to stream video and music to their heart’s content.6 Yet, with perpetually data-hungry consumers flocking to newer applications such as virtual reality and videoconferencing, it appears that even 4G is being stretched to its limits.

As the telecommunications industry anticipates “billions of users, billions of devices and billions of connections,”7 it is avidly preparing for the next generation of cellular service, called 5G, which is likely to be ready for rollout well before 2020.8

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Open Letter to Ira Flatow

January 2, 2018

Mr. Ira Flatow
National Public Radio’s Science Friday
19 West 44th Street, Suite 412
New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr Flatow,

In the 12/22/17 episode of Science Friday, I was disappointed to hear that this National Public Radio program participated in such misleading and one-sided coverage of the proven hazards of exposures to Wireless pulsed, data-modulated, Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation — at the same time that the Trump-FCC is attempting to vote on setting Wireless data transmission of 10M Mbps download/1 MBps upload as the new standard for Broadband for rural America — replacing the current FCC Broadband minimum of 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload, which can be easily achieved via fixed, Wireline connections (copper, coaxial and fiber optic).

I will refute much of what was said in this episode in my comments, below that include links to the primary research and analysis that NPR’s Ira Flatow should be referencing and discussing with experts from both sides of the issue: whether or not it is appropriate to allow/encourage 24/7/365 exposures to a proven toxic agent (RF Microwave Radiation) in our homes, workplaces, schools, other public buildings, parks and wilderness areas.

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A Much Bigger, Dumber Plan

by Karl Bode; Dec 20 2017; Original article here.

The attack on Net Neutrality is just one small part of a much bigger, dumber plan: the end goal is blind deregulation of federal and state oversight of big telecom.

Internet users have been justly outraged by the FCC’s decision to ignore the public and repeal net neutrality rules. But few media outlets or internet users seem to understand that the net neutrality repeal is just one small part of a massive, larger plan to eliminate nearly all meaningful federal and state oversight of some of the least-liked and least-competitive companies in America.

To be clear: the net neutrality repeal itself is awful policy that ignores both the will of the public and the people who built the damn internet. It eliminates a wide variety of consumer protections that prevent incumbent ISPs from abusing a lack of competition in the broadband market.

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Hazards of Microwave Radiation

A Review from 1960.

Kuo-Chiew Quan. 1960. Hazards of Microwave Radiations – A Review. Industr. Med. Surg. 29:315-318, July 1960 and reprinted in Occupational Medicine, Medical News Letter, Vol. 36, No. 10. November 18, 1960, pp 29-34.

This document, written nearly 60 years ago, discusses the hazards associated with levels of RF Microwave Radiation exposure that might be experienced by those who work near radar installations, radio frequency heat sealers, or medical diathermy machines. Note: this article also applies to those who repair both broadcast and cell phone antennas.

Kuo-Chiew Quan makes several statements about energy absorption and thermal effects of microwave radiation.

Statement 1:

“any biological effects, beneficial or harmful, produced by microwaves can result only from absorption of energy by the tissues.”

Statement 2:

“all biologic effects of microwaves cannot be attributed solely to temperature increases that result from energy absorption or whether these effects are produced in part by mechanisms other than simple thermal elevation.”

Statement 3:

“at this time it is impossible to rule out the possibility of athermal effects of microwaves.”

The thermal vs athermal debate was well underway in 1960.

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Problems with Palo Alto Verizon Cell Tower Project

Challenges in Scaling So-Called "Small Cell" Cell Towers

By Sean Kinney, Managing Editor on June 16, 2017 |
Original article here

In California, challenges to [so-called "Small Cell" cell towers] at scale include selecting the correct paint color and addressing concerns about health impacts [human health hazards].

Actual deployments of small cells has lagged behind perhaps ambitious projections for years. The problem is that, given the unique nature of each site and the regulatory process that governs a particular location, it’s difficult to establish a scalable, predictable process. With deployment estimates ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 per small cell, carriers have struggled to develop a one-size-fits-all approach; coupled with regulations that vary from city to city, it can take months of lead up for field work that can be completed in hours or days.

Case in point, Verizon Wireless is currently working with the city of Palo Alto, Calif., to install 92 small cells, 80 on wooden utility poles owned by the city, and 12 on metal street lights , according to a project description received by the city on Jan. 30. Verizon contemplates three configurations, all containing one antenna, three radios and one disconnect. The variations are in whether the battery back up is located on the pole, on the ground next to the pole, or not needed at all.

Note: the 12/7/17 Architectural Review Board (ARB) voted to require that all radios and ancillary equipment and other ground equipment must be below grade, which you can view here. Liquid cooling technology can be used to ensure that undergrounded equipment does not use noisy fans. The 4-1 ARB vote can be viewed here.

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