To Huawei or not to Huawei. Is the wrong question

06.05.2019 - London, UK - Silvia Swinden

This post is also available in: Spanish

To Huawei or not to Huawei. Is the wrong question
Satellite image of Hurricane Hugo with a polar low visible at the top of the image (Image by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration • Public domain)

The almighty geopolitical and technological row going on about allowing or not the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to set up the 5G infrastructure in Western countries, for fear of backdoor espionage by the Chinese government, has already cost his post to the UK Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. He was accused of leaking to the press that the UK Government was preparing to disregard the US paranoid advice and go ahead with Huawei installations.

The relationship between the UK Government and Huawei is long and convoluted, which has been comprehensively researched by True Publica. In summary, the usual financial interests have been given priority over other concerns since David Cameron’s was Prime Minister.

Politically sensitive as the issue may be, what is emerging from research into the 5G technology itself is that it may create serious interference with meteorological detection systems that would create dangers to the population.

Global 5G wireless networks threaten weather forecasts (Nature):

“Next-generation mobile technology could interfere with crucial satellite-based Earth observations.
”The US government has begun auctioning off blocks of wireless radio frequencies to be used for the next-generation mobile communications network known as 5G. But some of these frequencies lie close to those that satellites use for crucial Earth observations — and meteorologists are worried that 5G transmissions from cellphones and other equipment could interfere with their data collection.“Unless regulators or telecommunications companies take steps to reduce the risk of interference, Earth-observing satellites flying over areas of the United States with 5G wireless coverage won’t be able to detect concentrations of water vapour in the atmosphere accurately. Meteorologists in the United States and other countries rely on those data to feed into their models; without that information, weather forecasts worldwide are likely to suffer.”

The research into possible interference mentions that it is likely to reduce the capacity to forecast hurricanes and tornados, including the largest and life threatening meteorological events. It seems that the precautionary principle applies only to economic or political competition but when it comes to obtaining market advantages the US has jumped the gun and has started to implement the technology before it has proven to be safe. No doubt Huawei is doing the same since we live in a world driven by profit rather than human well being.

Categories: Ecology and Environment, International, Science and Technology
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