Calls for WiFi safety inquiry to be carried out in UK
Conrad Quilty-Harper|April 22, 2007 3:35 PM
The UK paper The Independent on Sunday has been thinking of the children recently with a headline article today proclaiming that children are at risk from WiFi signals, or what it sensationally calls "electronic smog." Their motivation for putting WiFi into an almost satanic light are calls by the UK Health Protection Agency to hold an investigation into the safety of WiFi signals. That's fair enough: even if most of the mania surrounding the safety (or lack thereof) of wireless networks is unjustified, an inquiry should put the record straight, right? Still, when another of the bodies that is calling for the inquiry -- the Department of Education and Skills -- calls wireless area networks "magical," it gives the increasing panic over WiFi a rather depressing perspective. Why exactly children are being used to justify an inquiry is a question that needs to be answered too, since the number of homes and workplaces equipped with WiFi must surely outnumber primary and secondary schools. That's before you factor in the prevalence of cordless phones and an array of other wireless kit in the home, which operate on the same 2.4GHz frequency that the majority of routers do. Unfortunately, our expectation is that an inquiry will lead to the same kind of back and forth arguments about the safety of mobile phones and their masts, and not any kind of clarity over this almost manufactured controversy. It certainly doesn't help for WiFi to be branded a "radiation threat" before an inquiry has even been agreed upon.