Tinfoil hats for everyone! WiFi being banned in Ontario School.

Posted: October 20, 2010 in hardware, technology
Tags: , , , ,

Banning WiFi in school? This one made me shake my head.  In case you haven’t heard about this, take a look at this article in the Ottawa Sun here.

I can understand parents wanting to protect their kids, its a healthy thing, something we share with the entire animal kingdom. Being overprotective though is another issue.  And taking that protectiveness too far seems to be what this group of misguided and misinformed parents are trying to do.

A few things that really bothered me.  Why are we confusing electronic sensitivity with a health issue?  I can understand if you have an allergy, say, for instance peanuts.  That allergic reaction can make you very sick, or even die, and because of that most schools are peanut free zones.  But this is different.  What we are talking about here is not an allergic reaction but typically a sensitivity to electronic fields or devices.  We need to spend more time finding a solution and not make half-baked decisions that will supposedly help.  Eliminating WiFi in the school is exactly that.  Half-baked.

What do these people do in malls? at home? Friends houses? Walking down the street? etc.  We are surrounded by WiFi all day long.  Don’t believe me? Use a WiFi sniffer and just see how many networks are around you.  As I walked thru one of the local malls I found very few stores without their own wireless networks, some had more than one.  Sure most of them are locked down so you can’t access them, but they are still there broadcasting their signals.  What about other signals?  Do these people all have corded phones at home only as well?  And of course none of them have cel phones and would never dream of using a TV remote or having a baby monitor.

As for the health issues associated with WiFi signals, there is no general consensus here.  We have numerous scientists and organizations including Health Canada stating there is no danger to the public, and on the opposite side are numerous other scientists stating there are problems and effects from low level radio frequency energy such as WiFi.

Regardless, this is not a well thought out decision by the parents by any means.  You may be able to remove the WiFi signal being generated inside the school, but if the school is like any of the schools I’ve seen, the houses around it have WiFi and their signals, though weak, are still present in the school yard.  Besides that, as I stated previously, WiFi is all around us.  You can’t even go into the grocery store or hardware store anymore without finding a few wireless hotspots, let alone in your own house.  I’ve checked available networks at some friends’ houses and seen upwards of 10 networks within range while inside their own homes.  Are these parents going to foil wrap their walls to block signals?  It seems this is not the end of this story either, as more “concerned parents” groups pressure their schools to remove WiFi.

It’s this kind of  mentality that reminds me of the saying “you need to pass a test to drive a car, but anyone can become a parent”.


(tinfoil hat image from treehugger.com)

  1. Rob A says:

    The article is a little misleading. While the parents have voted to ban the WiFi it ultimately isn’t up to the parents. The school board must make that decision. From the report on ‘A’ News, it appears that the board is considering doing a study to determine if the ban is necessary and/or feasible. There was a number bantered about of $75,000 for the report/study and that if they did decide to ban WiFi it wouldn’t be as simple as turning off the router and may take up to two years. The parent/tinfoil-hat-wearer spearheading the drive doesn’t understand why it would take so long. Apparently he doesn’t realize that parts of the school not service by Cat5 would need to be. And if that includes portables I could see it being a costly proposition.

    My guess is the school board will look at spending $75K, have a good laugh, and then shuffle the request to the bottom of the deck.


  2. josh says:

    Here is an introduction to the issue by way of anecdote: http://www.trentu.ca/news/view/cellphone.html Read that before continuing further.

    After the above, the most accessible technical description I’ve read is found by searching on GQ dot com for ‘cell phone radiation’. Summary: Low frequencies suck for our health (e.g. power line 60Hz) and it’s the modulation of signals of higher frequencies that causes trouble.

    I linked the TrentU professor’s non-academic web site as my web site for this comment. There is a lot on that site, so I’m starting to learn in the following places which provide me smaller bits at once (with better organization for my own learning style).

    1. I’m currently reading the book _Cross Currents_ by Becker, a late big wig hospital researcher, which goes into detail about what was known more than twenty years ago. Before this, I read Becker’s previous book, _The Body Electric_, which has the feeling of a biography; the newer book is re-ordered to the science instead of the time-line and I’m not sure I would understand his subtle points if I had read the newer book first given how deeply I can immerse myself in chronological stories (e.g. novel, biography, etc.).

    2. I’m currently listening to a handful of interviews from electromagnetichealth DOT org located on the audio archives page (that is linked from the bottom of the page).


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