The industry association which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, GSMA, has condemned acts of violence and vandalism meted on 5G masts in London over their link to Covid-19 even as the police and counter-terrorism authorities are investigating acts of arson against mobile phone masts in the UK.
According to the GSMA, the attacks are “designed to weaken communications networks in a time of crisis.”
“Our vision at the GSMA is to unlock the power of connectivity so that people, industry and society thrive. We must unite in the global fight against COVID-19 and combat the fake news and violent actions linking 5G communications technology to the spread of the virus. This disinformation campaign is inciting fear, aggression, and vandalism against the critical infrastructure and essential maintenance workers who are keeping our public services connected, as well as our economy running,” the GSMA stated in a media release.
England’s National Medical Director Stephen Powis has been widely reported in the media as saying, “The 5G story is complete and utter rubbish, it’s nonsense, it’s the worst kind of fake news.”
The GSMA has called on internet service providers, content providers and social media platforms to accelerate their efforts to remove fake news linking 5G to the spread of COVID-19. The association noted that Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact-checking charity, has already confirmed that there is no link between 5G and COVID-19, further urging governments around the world to take swift action against disinformation, vandalism and threats against mobile network field engineers.
“The telecoms industry is working around the clock to keep vital health, education and emergency services online, businesses running, and friends and families connected,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA “It is deplorable that critical communications infrastructure is being attacked based on outright mistruths. We urge everyone to trust health authorities and rest assured communications technology is safe. There is no link between 5G and COVID-19.”
Last month, an independent international watchdog confirmed there is no risk of harm to people, including children, from exposure to radio frequencies from mobile networks, including 5G. In its findings, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection reviewed 20 additional years of research and echoed previous reassurances from the World Health Organization.
The GSMA has a memebership of more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, comprising of handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.