back to article San Francisco's proposed Wi-Fi network facing angry mobs

The city-wide Wi-Fi network being pushed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom faces two important hearings this week as a motley band of critics mount a series of challenges to the project, which would be jointly operated by Google and Earthlink. The concerns include the health effects of antennas, whether proposed terms would …


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  1. Fazal Majid

    Health issues?

    You have at least half a dozen active WiFi access points active nearly everywhere in San Francisco. One additional network is not going to add more.

    This is more a sign of how disconnected loony-left supervisors in San Francisco are from reality. People like Chris Daly are vociferating about the sweet deal Google is getting from "selling" free service, and is demanding they give free PCs to various pet projects to atone for this.

    Given that San Francisco's budget is greater than the entire GNP of Mongolia, is close to that of Chicago or Paris, both significantly larger cities, and that we get precious little value for our money, it's probably a good idea not to turn the network into yet another boondogle for incompetent politicians to mismanage at the taxpayer's expense, but I wish they would stop looking at a gift horse in the mouth and stop obstructing the project already. San Francisco was supposed to be the first Wi-Fi city, but has already been overtaken by Philadelphia, London, Paris and many others.

  2. Steve Sutton


    *giggles like a girl^H^H^H^H^H^HHomer Simpson*

  3. Chad H.

    I'm beginning to wonder...

    I've been saying for a while now that the first murder ever was probably blaimed on a cave painting... I'm beginning to wonder if the first cave painting was blaimed for all sorts of ill health that the cavepeople would have gotten anyway.

  4. Henrik Eiriksson

    Yes, big health issues

    Prof. Magda Havas of Trent University has reviewed the current science for SNAFU.

    The research includes human and animal studies regarding mobile phone basestations which is the most similar to wi-fi exposure.

    Get the paper here:

    It's interresting to note that 80% of the mobile phone basestation studies registered in the W.H.O database show adverse health effects.

    One can then speculate on why no warnings have been issued by W.H.O based on this overwhelming evidence of danger. This might be due to the fact that Mike Repacholi, the man who single-handedly coordinated the W.H.O's EMF project for 11 years, was an industry consultant before that and secretly stayed on the wireless industry payroll while at W.H.O.

    It's like the Tobacco scandal all over again. This time, instead of fighting the W.H.O, the wireless industry uses the W.H.O as a shield. More here:

    The WHO has recently been blasted in "The Lancet" for relying solely on "experts" (some with obvious industry bias) to formulate "guidelines" instead of systematically reviewing the actual evidence. This is how Repacholi is believed to have kept all the damaging evidence against the wireless industry out of W.H.O recommendations.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Henrik Eiriksson

    Look, we've been over this time and again here. Particularly after that Panorama about WiFi. The studies which you site are all flawed, there is no conspiracy.

    For further, balanced, information go to

    Having read the PDF, very very quickly (I am at work!), it looks pretty impressive, but a little looking around shows that it sites three animal studies that have all been discredited. Also the Daily Telegraph is sited as a source of a quote from Sir William Stewart, who is known to be at odds with the findings of his own report.

    Move along, nothing to see here...

  6. Dennis Price

    The dirty litle secret is....

    ....the rest of the US (okokok, the northeast US might care - birds of a feather) could give a flying fsck what San Francisco does... just another city in California who will more than likely vote for Sharia law out of compassion for the poor misunderstood Islamic militant folks.

    How about an up-to-date Token Ring installation?


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Comcast and AT&T get $20 per San Francisco resident on average.

    And plenty of that gets kicked back to Chris Daley, who drags his feet publicly and privately jeers with 4 letter words as he fights for the status-quo. Or his real objective- to deny the Mayor any victory no matter the cost to the citizens, who by a wide margin want the WIFI system. The future of the Supervisor's political careers vs the Mayor's is the only real issue being debated here.

    The FUD about health and privacy is sad nonsense.

    The location and membership data privacy issue is also the same as for all other forms of Internet. Do you think AT&T Doesn't know who you are on your DSL? On your cellphone? Does comcast have no idea who is using your cable modem?

    Nobody has to use the new free service- they can stick with what they have if they think it is more private.

    And if you are worried about microwaves, and don't understand the inverse-square law, you can always wear a tin-foil hat.

  8. Henrik Eiriksson


    Dear "Fraser",

    "The studies which you site are all flawed" ..says who? Ben "BadScience" Goldacre?

    Don't even try to sell Ben "BadScience" as "balanced" or whatever.

    Ben Goldacre does gigs for MOA (Mobile Operators Association) at the politician mind-massaging sessions they sponsor.

    See here:

    and notice the entry: Monday 25th September, 5.30pm.

    Whatever message you took away from Panorama the fact remains that the Government (ie. Blair & Brown) used one breath to say "up yours" to Sir William's precautionary approach, and "show us the moneeeeeey!" to the wireless industry.

    How about some real references Fraser - and have the balls to post under your real identity.

  9. Regis Terme

    San Francisco's "free" wifi should be free as in freedom

    This free Internet service's location and membership data privacy issue is definitely not the same as for other forms of billed services.

    Does MUNI know who you are when they move you around the city? Does KFOG make you register to receive their free, ad-supported audio entertainment service? Does the cop who searches you going in to City Hall demand your ID? Does every electrical outlet in every bus stop and airport demand a PIN number before feeding juice to your laptop? Does Google demand that you register before using their free, ad-supported search engine? And who's that drinking from our water fountains, anyway?! And putting trash in our cans? We wouldn't want UNIDENTIFIED HOMELESS people using our public bathrooms, would we?

    A city-provided free Internet communications service should be similarly respectful of its users' privacy. It should demand as little information as necessary (in practice: none, just like using your neighbor's WiFi with their permission), and should make as few records as possible. It's not a tracking system; it's not a marketing experiment; it's a communications service for the citizens.

    Google and Earthlink networks everywhere else make people log in before their "free" wifi service will work. Try it yourself in Mountain View, where the whole city has service. If you won't get a Google track-me-everywhere account -- the same thing you need for Gmail -- and click to agree legally with a whole pile of self-serving terms of service, then you won't get any service out of the free San Francisco public service network. And that's just 100% wrong.

    Logging in to a free service may be right for Google but it's wrong for San Francisco. You should just be able to pick that network and it should work, without accounts, without logins.

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