5… Gee! What have we done?

Written by Christoan Smit

16 Aug, 2019

Imagine someone building a new kind of sports car. Less weight = more speed, but they decide to ditch the brakes as a ‘fair trade-off’ to get more speed. What’s more, due to a faulty design, the exhaust pipe ciphers small amounts of toxic fumes into the cabin – not enough to kill you right away, but just enough to make you very sick in the long run.

And that is pretty much what happened with 5G.

In an effort to get faster connection speeds, a few shortcuts were taken on the security side of things, and some convenient assumptions made during the design process have proven to be wrong, making the security debacle even worse.

Secondly, there are many health concerns surrounding 5G towers. They are much more powerful, and much more directed, than 4G towers, meaning the ‘microwave effect’ of the tower’s radiation on your skin is more severe.

In all fairness, the conspiracy theorists have blown things way out of proportion, and yet, when we strip away all the hot air, underneath it all, the two main (and very legitimate) concerns remain: Security and health issues.

However, this is nothing new. Wi-Fi (yes, the one in your home) has exactly the same issues. Wi-Fi is not nearly as secure as it should be (there’s a hacker tool that can crack your Wi-Fi password in under 8 minutes) and the device itself emits harmful radiation when in close proximity. Yet, everybody uses Wi-Fi.

This brings us full circle to smoking in the ‘60s.

“Perfectly Safe!” and “Everyone does it!” and yet here we are more than a half-a-century later with around 4 million deaths per year due to smoking. 5G could well be the cause of death of millions of people’s privacy, and who knows about the health risks?

Our addiction to devices, funny cat videos, and faster and demanding faster Internet might well be our undoing in the long run. Unless 5G can be made much more secure, and unless the technology can be delivered in such a way as to be ‘safe for human consumption’, it should be put on hold.

For the moment, 5G isn’t even necessary – 4G can stream and buffer video faster than it plays, so what’s the point of making the download speed even faster?

The fact that the world-wide average website load time is 22 seconds has less to do with Internet speed and more to do with bad website design, and speeding up the Internet won’t necessarily increase the load times, just as increasing the speed limits on roads won’t make a 1972 VW Transporter van drive any faster.

Although 5G should definitely be put on hold, it should not be discarded altogether. Chances are, the legion of security problems will eventually sort themselves out when high-ranking individuals’ accounts get hacked and their dirty laundry gets hung. They will then put their hands on their hips and growl: “Fix it.”