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International Coalition Objects to Google’s ‘Project Loon’

Written by Alexis Kramer, Bloomberg BNA

Google Inc.’s plan to deliver global WiFi access through Project Loon—a network of balloons floating in the stratosphere designed to connect people in remote areas and fill gaps in coverage—has sparked controversy.

The Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space (GUARDS), an international coalition against global WiFi from space, has objected to Google’s plan.

GUARDS argued, in a recent filing to the Federal Communications Commission, that the proposed project violates several international treaties, including the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Google applied for an experimental radio service license that would allegedly cover 88.6 to 99.6 percent of the land area of the continental U.S. with radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation.

Exposure to RF radiation—in the wavelengths that Google proposes to use in providing global WiFi—can cause serious biological effects that can lead to increased risks of cancer, GUARDS said Dec. 17 in its informal objection.

GUARDS added that countries are responsible for acting in the best interest of their children and should not force them to be exposed to this radiation.

A number of countries, including Sweden and France, recognize electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS) as a disability triggered by exposure to electromagnetic fields. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes EHS as a condition whose symptoms (e.g., fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, dizziness, nausea) can be debilitating.

In the U.S., the parents of a 12-year-old child filed Dec. 8 an amended complaint in a Massachusetts federal district court, claiming that a private school violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to make changes to its allegedly high-density WiFi system to accommodate their son’s EHS “disability.”

People with EHS allegedly may not be able to escape the electromagnetic fields if WiFi is blanketing the earth. We’ll keep watch and let you know any updates on GUARD’s efforts to stop Project Loon.

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