While selling 5G technology to the public as a means for faster downloads, Big Wireless — comprising a web of telecom companies, lobbyists and law firms– is spending millions to lobby governments the world over to implement the next generation of cellular technology because of its potential for data collection and surveillance of citizens.
by Derrick Broze
While the debate continues around 5G’s potential impact on human health, the environment and wildlife, often overlooked in the discussion about 5G is how the technology will be used for data collection and surveillance. Big Wireless has spent over three decades lobbying state powers to build this technology while selling it to the public as a means for faster downloads.
In that time the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association – an organization whose leadership has maintained a revolving door relationship with the U.S. Federal Communication Commission – has collaborated on or guided regulatory policy related to not only 5G, but the roll out of cell phones and other digital technology. The CTIA annually lobbies for the industry to the tune of millions of dollars, making them one of the most powerful telecom lobby groups.
The COVID19 pandemic has caused governments around the world to lockdown their nations, cancel public school sessions, and cost millions of people their jobs. Fears of spreading the virus and overloading the healthcare system are triggering an authoritarian response from many of these governments — including the United States. For many Americans, these aggressive measures have halted typical daily activities. Taking a trip to the gym, work, school, or out with friends – are no longer an option.
However, while most non-essential activities have stopped, the controversial expansion of the 5th generation of cellular infrastructure has continued. With the support and lobbying of the CTIA, Big Wireless’ 5G agenda is quickly expanding. Records from ProPublica show the CTIA lobbied for 2 recents bills related to 5G infrastructure.
On March 23, the 5G rollout took one step forward in the U.S. when President Donald Trump signed a bill aimed at “securing America’s 5G infrastructure.” The Secure 5G and Beyond Act calls for Congress to present a comprehensive plan for accelerating the nation’s 5G network “not later than 180 days.” The building of the next generation network has rapidly advanced due to the passing of the Secure 5G and Beyond Act and the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which passed the House in December 2019.
In April 2019, President Donald Trump held a press conference where he stated his intention to expand the U.S. wireless infrastructure as part of the effort to defeat China in the so-called “Race to 5G”. During the press conference Trump stood next to the head of the Federal Communications Commission and telecommunication employees as he declared, “The race to 5G is on and we must win.” While Trump is certain that America must win this apparent race – even during the middle of a pandemic – determining exactly who is the driving force behind the push towards the 5th generation of cellular technology requires digging through decades of lawsuits, industry corruption, and captured agencies.