Canadian tech leader strangely buys into WiFi scares

Well this is just bizarre.

Frank Clegg, former Microsoft Canada head, warns of WiFi in schools | Full Comment | National Post.

Concerned parents touting brochures about the dangers of wireless routers found an ally last week in former Microsoft Canada president Frank Clegg. Clegg, who worked at Microsoft for 14 years before leaving to launch Citizens 4 Safe Technology (C4ST), spoke to parents and teachers in Mississauga on May 9 about the dangers of wireless internet in schools.

“There are already children who can’t go to school because of headaches, nausea and heart problems from the wireless systems,” said Clegg in a statement released prior to the event. “Some of these kids have a doctor’s note to prove it. This is a real hazard and we shouldn’t wait for the government to catch up to the technology. We should exercise caution, especially with children.”

Caution? Yes. But the emphasis is misplaced here. As we have discussed with regards to these scare stories about environmental sensitivity, there is nothing there to go on. The symptoms can not be connected to wi-fi or EMFs. I’m surprised he isn’t freaking out about kids using cell phones too. The article does mention this point as well.

The article rightly cites that there is no scientific evidence that people are getting sick from wi-fi: “People may be feeling sick, in other words, but there’s no scientific proof to suggest that EMF is necessarily the cause.” They link to this FAQ (PDF) by Health Canada. I am glad that they have posted this confusing story about someone you would assume would take the science into account. But you can’t always assume rational thinking. People are swayed by emotional stories and worried about kids health.

  2 comments for “Canadian tech leader strangely buys into WiFi scares

  1. Pete Attkins
    May 19, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    I often contemplate writing an in-depth article on the surrounding issues with well-reasoned explanations of individual instances such as this. I’ve made a few starts, but each time I end up deleting my writing because, although I’m convinced it would help alleviate some suffering by debunking the woo, it could also be used an an instruction manual for those who wish to exploit others.

    My ethics prohibit me from writing or saying anything that could be misused to cause suffering and distress. It is obvious to me that Frank Clegg (and many others like him) represent the antithesis of my ethics.

    I don’t believe for one moment that these people are deluded about the science and technology they worked with / near to. I’m sure that they have learn’t enough about people to know how to baffle them with bullshit, scare them, and make money out of them.

    If Frank Clegg has a genuine evidence-based argument then he should be suing his former employer instead of behaving like a complete [insert your own word] by scaring parents and teachers, further scaring the children and ultimately spoiling their education.

    “Some of these kids have a doctor’s note to prove it.” Really? The final proof that the WHO was wrong and Wi-Fi really does make people sick. Heck, I’ve learnt something new today.

    I would love to personally ask Clegg, and the doctor(s) who wrote the notes, to clearly explain why the circa 500 watts of electromagnetic radiation those children are receiving from their environment 24/7 has no effect, yet the microwatts of Wi-Fi received at school is apparently making them seriously ill.

    The only danger posed by a Wi-Fi router is the very small chance that it or its power supply could catch fire in the unlikely event of a fault. A more serious danger is someone picking up and hurling at someone else (or trying to do something bizarre with its antenna).

  2. One Eyed Jack
    May 20, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    100 years of radio broadcasts and it’s weak Wi-Fi signals that do us in?

    Electric mixers, blenders, microwaves, televisions, radios, smoke alarms, washing machines, clothes dryers, hair dryers, cordless phones, smoke alarms, VCRs, DVD payers, tape decks, CD players, computers,remote controlled toys, fluorescent lights, automobiles, any electric fan, household wiring… on and on. All these things use radio signals, create EMF fields, or emit radiation, but it’s WiFi that’s a problem?

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