back to article Vodafone chief speaks out after 5G conspiracy nuts torch phone mast serving Nightingale Hospital in Brum

Vodafone CEO Nick Jeffrey has spoken out after arsonists targeted a phone mast serving the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Birmingham. In a LinkedIn post, Jeffrey described the fire starters as "deluded conspiracy theorists" and emphasised the hugely personal consequences of these attacks. "Burning down masts means damaging …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Unhappy

    But....

    If we can't turn to our celebrities, how we know what to think?

  2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    The social media companies don't help enough

    Social media companies like Facebook and Youtube don't help enough. They're trying, but they could do more. For example, when you try to report a post, there's no option for 'dangerous conspiracy theory'. Facebook should write to admins of groups and tell them that if they don't start vetting all posts, and getting rid of these poisonous and dangerous conspiracy theories, the group will be closed down. They could start employing more people - it's not like there isn't a labour force available and it's not like they don't have the money. It's the willingness that they don't have. As long as Facebook, Google etc al can keep earning money of ridiculous conspiracy theories, they'll never be too quick to remove this shite.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The social media companies don't help enough

      >there's no option for 'dangerous conspiracy theory'

      Why would there be? In their world this is free speech, and free speech must never be curtailed. If people didn't want to see it, they wouldn't watch it. If they didn't watch it, the algorithm wouldn't show it to them. If the algorithm didn't show it to them, they wouldn't be able to take their advertising cut.

      Social media companies don't help _at all_. The sooner we force them to be responsible about the content they sell, the better.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: The social media companies don't help enough

        Charge people. I get less (no?) fake scam post/mail as it's too expensive. Charge people instead of relying on advertising and data collection for funds. Then the scammers/nutters have to think really hard if they want to spend their cash spreading lies.

        If someone tells me "I CAN make a perpetual motion machine" most stop when asked to spend their own money doing it... sadly not all do.

      2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Re: The social media companies don't help enough

        Free speech should never be curtailed? No maybe not, but facebook isn't democracy. Free speech when it infringes upon the rights of others is not what free speech is for. Why not curtail the platforms these nutjobs can use, it's harmful to do otherwise?

        1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: The social media companies don't help enough

          With “rights of others” you practically quoted every communist dictatorship. These was how they explained why people were not allowed to criticise the system.

      3. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: The social media companies don't help enough

        Yelling "Theatre" in a crowded fire is not protected speech.

        Encouraging people to destroy other's property or lives (whether by arson or otherwise) is incitement to violence, a criminal act.

        This isn't protected speech, it's dangerous, destructive and illegal.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: The social media companies don't help enough

          "Yelling "Theatre" in a crowded fire is not protected speech."

          Yelling "Theater" in a crowded firehouse is certainly protected speech ... here in the US[0], anyway. I don't recommend it, though. Firefighters are an ornry lot in these parts.

          [0] Might vary in your jurisdiction. Check local laws, yadda yadda.

      4. big_D Silver badge

        Re: The social media companies don't help enough

        Not every country has free speech.

        And in the case of the USA, it only says that the Government can't curtail free speech. It says nothing about platforms banning complete nutters from posting dangerous nonsense; they are allowed to do that, they aren't the government and it is their private platform, they don't have to put up with it. they could ban it, but then they'd lose ad revenue on the posts.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: The social media companies don't help enough

      There are not that many utterly delusional conspiracy theorists. Mostly they live in their social media echo chambers doing no damage to anything but each other. Instead of monitoring the entire world for nutty posts it would be cheaper to keep the echo chamber for nutters only by not showing links to their content to the rest of the world.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: The social media companies don't help enough

      Twitter is the same. You can report hate, but not conspiracy or lies.

    4. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: The social media companies don't help enough

      There are a lot of nutters out there. But who is to decide what is a “conspiracy theory” and what is not?

      Today Facebook might block some idiots spreading conspiracy theories about the masts, but who would guarantee that next time it would not be just something the government does not want you to know?

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: The social media companies don't help enough

        Quite right. Remember that a lot of us here were accused of peddling dangerous conspiracy theories about government surveillance until Edward Snowden came along. Free speech has to be free for everyone, or it is free for no one.

    5. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: The social media companies don't help enough

      define "there's no option for 'dangerous conspiracy theory'"

      is it a conspiracy that George Bush invaded Afghanistan looking for Bin Ladin then went and decimated Iraq?

      Is it a conspiracy that Tony Blair ignored his scientific advisor when he stated there where no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq & invaded Iraq anyway with the excuse that it was to stop WOMD that where subsequently never found?

      is it a conspiracy that ~2000 years ago the son of God left a cave that days before his dead body was entombed in after being crucified by the Romans?

      Is it a conspiracy that there is only 1 true God (which one though)

      i could go on and on.

      The point is, who decides what is conspiracy and what is not. We should not need to live in society that an authoritarian government decides what is acceptable or not. We already take issues with some overly religious regimes for doing just that and European nations have witnessed the devastating results of the various christian churches have wielding and abusing their positions of trust and authority on their populations.

      If some one is spouting nonsense online then those reading it should be sufficiently educated to be able to challenge it themselves and not be influenced by it.

      Maybe make the use of Social Media reliant on passing some kind of annual intelligence test, don't pass, don't use.

      (yes i know, the people who set the test could seed the questions to ensure the only right answers are ones that agree with their narrative)

      Censorship is never the right answer, education is far better.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The social media companies don't help enough

        "is it a conspiracy that ~2000 years ago the son of God left a cave that days before his dead body was entombed in after being crucified by the Romans?"

        I actually have a logical explanation for this one.

        If you read the gospels for content, you'll discover that Pontius Pilatus didn't want to crucify Jesus. You'll also discover that Jesus was imprisoned with a murderer that Pilatus wanted to put to death. The murderer's name? Barabbas. What does Bar Abba mean in Aramaic? In English, it means "Son of The Father".

        Now, nobody was allowed to speak the name of God (except the High Priest, on the Day Of Atonement) ... Instead, they called God "The Father" in day-to-day life. So when Pilatus asked both men their names (Roughly, "Are you the Son of the Father?"), they would have replied in the affirmative. Throw into the mix the Essenes, well known for causing mini-riots, chanting "crucify him!" for the OTHER Barabbas, and you have a logical explanation for the "risen from the dead" myth.

        This would also explain why the supposedly "dead" Jesus was seen walking BACK to the tomb by Mary of Magdala ... They had just switched out the real dead body, and Jesus hadn't managed to get back to the tomb fast enough to complete the illusion. Faking the nail & spear & thorn wounds on his hands, side & head would be trivial.

        1. tip pc Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: The social media companies don't help enough

          "Now, nobody was allowed to speak the name of God (except the High Priest, on the Day Of Atonement) ... Instead, they called God "The Father" in day-to-day life. So when Pilatus asked both men their names (Roughly, "Are you the Son of the Father?"), they would have replied in the affirmative. Throw into the mix the Essenes, well known for causing mini-riots, chanting "crucify him!" for the OTHER Barabbas, and you have a logical explanation for the "risen from the dead" myth.

          This would also explain why the supposedly "dead" Jesus was seen walking BACK to the tomb by Mary of Magdala ... They had just switched out the real dead body, and Jesus hadn't managed to get back to the tomb fast enough to complete the illusion. Faking the nail & spear & thorn wounds on his hands, side & head would be trivial."

          Cool Story Jake, or is that Jacob?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: The social media companies don't help enough

            It's not my story, tip pc. It's the translation from the Latin of a story that was originally written in Koine Greek and Aramaic. Thank the translators that you can read it for yourself, instead of having it read for you ... and can think about what the words mean, not what you are told they mean.

            My handle is neither of those names. It's jake. Can you read for content?

        2. At Risk

          Re: The social media companies don't help enough

          "...blessed are the cheesemakers..."

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: The social media companies don't help enough

        That entire long list is nonsense. Conspiracy theories require a link a motivation and an originator. Usually in the form of;

        A causes B because of the malevolence of C.

        This is not the same as hidden motives, lies etc.

        e.g. Bush invaded Afghanistan because a cabal of mining companies wanted to get their hands or a rich reserve of Afghanistanium - an essential mineral in the manufacture of brain wave generators.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "amplified by celebrities like Amanda Holden, Woody Harrelson, boxer Amir Khan and John Cusack."

    Start with these. Prosecute them for incitement.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      re: amplified by celebrities

      Just make sure that they never get any work in the future. They won't be celebs of any list then.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: re: amplified by celebrities

        The problem with removing peoples' careers is that some of them become Andrew Wakefield. Try a little education first. Only the hard core conspiracy nuts will find some excuse to get around "Iran has had tragic loses from CV-19 but has no 5G at all". Sometimes you will get celebrities to publicly apologise and occasionally do a little thinking before opening their mouths.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: re: amplified by celebrities

          "Try a little education first."

          2400 years ago (plus or minus a couple decades, but who's quibbling) Euripides commented "Talk sense to a fool, and he calls you foolish."

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      ...or at least always refer to them as, e.g., "mast-er baiter Woody Harrelson".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "mast-er baiter"

        I believe the technical term for these morons is, "Tw@s" or "Funts".

        1. Bonzo_red

          I think just "wankers" is better.

    3. theblackhand Silver badge

      For the UK "celebrities", a little bit of community service helping out the NHS would be appreciated.

      I'm sure Amanda would do a fine job washing dirty scrubs.

      Amir maybe a little harder - I'm not sure which job he could do without quitting halfway through.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        And just think how long it would take to train him to do even the simplest task!

    4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      I don't like incitement laws. The responsibility should lie with the actors and not the speakers, otherwise both free speech and free will are undermined.

  4. Mark192 Bronze badge

    It never ceases to surprise me how stupid someone can be and still fit into society... then I realised it's the clever ones that struggle to fit in.

    How can the same species produce both engineers that can design and build this stuff, and the clueless idiots that can burn it down based on some BS Facebook campaign.

    If intelligence were expressed as height, we'd have mountains striding along with puddles... it just doesn't make sense.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      "...It never ceases to surprise me how stupid someone can be and still fit into society... then I realised it's the clever ones that struggle to fit in..."

      Sad, isn't it? We have kids who "want to be famous" when they grow up. Not even in any specific area: just "famous".

      We used to hold scientists and engineers in great esteem. They were people worthy of respect, whereas these days you get that if you can kick a ball around a field or pretend to be someone else on a screen.

      That isn't to say they can't make mistakes or self-promote stupid ideas (or even dangerous ones) or succumb to money etc, but that's the beauty of science "so you claim this... let's replicate it and see if you're right".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Actually, if you look at old University architecture, they look like fortresses with huge doors. There wasn't a time in history where education was valued.

        These days you just have the triumph of the mass uninformed commentard. I guess like me writing this?

        I did read an article implying that people no matter how stupid when speaking garbage in mass form a sort of neural network possibly greater than its parts, though. It seems unlikely.

        1. hoola Bronze badge

          Unfortunately we now live in a society where the majority of believe that everything the see on Social Media is true. It does not matter how bonkers the information or statement may be, the herd will continue to believe it because it has x1000 likes. The speed that this information it disseminated then forms the second part of the problem. It takes seconds for it to go from nothing to a major presence as people share, like and repost. Facebook are powerless to stop it because they cannot react fast enough and have no interest in doing anything to improve this. I suspect that they will not show much interest in doing anything to improve this as these posts will be earning significant amounts of money.

          All too often the term "Freedom of speech" is used to justify not removing utterly despicable posts or videos. Unfortunately the consequences of delaying or not removing the material are trivial and Facebook etc. just don't care. They are completely untouchable due to the money they have and they way the operate. The depravity that they have permitted to be posted and taken ages to remove (Youtube execution videos as an example) just shows the scale of the problem.

          I don't have an answer as I just don't see who can sort it out, it is an international problem based in the US and there is simply not the will to do anything about it/

    2. Bob7300

      Personal Saying:

      Never underestimate the stupidity of people.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        You know how stupid the average person is ?

        Half the people are more stupid than that.

        1. Ralph Online

          Carlo M Cippola

          Well worth looking up Basic Laws of Human Stupidity by economist Carlo M Cippola.

          He defined a "Stupid Person" as someone who repeatedly behaved in a manner which harmed everyone for no personal gain to themselves. So more based on behaviours rather than any ability to pass an IQ test.

          And there are more Stupid People around than you'd imagine (for UK I'd say a first approximation could be 17.4m or maybe 13.9m?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Carlo M Cippola

            You can include my 79 year old mother in those statistics, she a full Dunnng Krugger. She believes that she is immune to COVID-19 and moans to us when people moan to hear being out and about. She goes out walking for 6 hours a day desperately going round supermarkets trying to find someone to talk to. She hangs around in the queues and when the security gurad says she can go in she tells him she's not here to buy anything, so he has to tell her to "Go Home" but then she argues and moans why people shout abuse at her but her belief is steadfast. Even if myself and my sister have sworn and shouted at her to stay inside but it's no use as she still goes out. We have even rang the Police to have a word with her but it still did not make a difference.

            1. edris90

              Re: Carlo M Cippola

              Perhaps 79 years old she made peace with the concept of her own death. decided not to waste another moment worrying or trying to avoid it.

              An attitude of ,if death comes so be it, but the meantime she going to live without allowing fear to restrict her.

              At almost 80 years old that is not an unlikely attitude. If only more people had that wisdom at a younger age.. the valuing of quality experience over quantity of experience or duration.

              The maturity to look at your own death say "meh. Whatever. It's bound to happen eventually."

      2. jake Silver badge

        "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." —Albert Einstein (supposedly)

        "Apart from hydrogen, the most common thing in the universe is stupidity." —Harlan Ellison

        "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life." —Frank Zappa

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I still know someone here in the UK who will NOT drink milk just in case any Nuclear fallout (from Chernobyl) is still present in any grass in Wales etc.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Does your friend eat bananas?

        (I have a friend who refuses to own, use, or eat anything heated in a microwave oven because "nuking things makes them radioactive". Strangely enough, as far as I am aware this is his only quirk.)

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          An in-law used to stick little pieces of lead sheeting over the old (usually green) LED display on her microwave oven (as well as other appliances and the car clock).

      2. Norman Nescio

        Chernobyl fallout

        This is not as silly as you might think.

        In Norway, reindeer and sheep are still monitored for radioactivity* and prevented from going for human consumption** if the levels are too high as a result of the Chernobyl fallout. They only stopped doing that for sheep in Wales a few years ago - just looked it up: 2012

        BBC 22 March 2012: Chernobyl sheep controls lifted in Wales and Cumbria

        And while the level of contamination in Wales has dropped sufficiently for it to be deemed low enough not to cause an appreciable risk, milk in areas of Ukraine is still well over the safe level applied by the local authorities:

        The Independent: 8 June 2018: Ukrainian cow milk has ‘five times safe level of radioactivity’, study finds

        So while the person in question might be regarded as over-cautious, it certainly isn't idiotic behaviour.

        Torching 5G phone-masts because they are related to Coronavirus by reason of "Chewbacca!" is irrational. The perpetrators need catching and either remedial education or being put where they can't do any more harm for a while.

        But in a democracy, such people have a vote, which is frightening.

        NN

        *(1) From 2016: https://www.dsa.no/publikasjon/straaleverninfo-4-2016-30-aar-sidan-tsjernobyl-kor-mange-fleire-aar-med-tiltak-i-reindrifta.pdf

        (2) From 2017: https://www.mattilsynet.no/mat_og_vann/uonskede_stofferimaten/radioaktivitet/rapport_radioaktivitet_i_norsk_mat_2016.26934/binary/Rapport:%20Radioaktivitet%20i%20norsk%20mat%202016

        (3) From 2019: https://www.nrk.no/nordland/33-ar-etter-tsjernobyl-ma-fortsatt-37-norske-kommuner-male-radioaktivitet-i-husdyr-1.14575384 - contains a list of 37 Norwegian counties where animals need to be tested to show they are below acceptable Norwegian limits before slaughter.

        **It's mostly relevant if you eat a lot of reindeer, but the reindeer herders do. They also monitor wild fungi and berries. The problem being that some plants and fungi concentrate the Caesium-137.

    4. Terry 6 Silver badge

      It's a mixture of celebs being idolised by the credulous while being credulous themselves ( they live in tinsel world), and a ( fairly recent, I think, ) sense that we are all entitled to be self-righteous vigilantes.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Possibly OTT on my part but..

    Rather than simple arson is this not classifiable as treason?

    i.e. Damaging critical national infrastructure in case of national emergency?

    Although it might be wise for the media to point out in no uncertain terms that the maximum sentence for arson is life imprisonment.

    Of course how many people are using 5G currently is debatable but could easily take out other infrastructure at the same time.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

      I like this idea. "If you are going to be publicly stupid, the public will punish you severely" is an excellent position (to claim, at the very least).

    2. LoPath
      Mushroom

      Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

      Not sure about the treason part, but I agree, it's damaging critical infrastructure. These towers that are getting torched typically have a lot of equipment on them and the 5G equipment. So while you might be torching the 5G equipment, you're also torching everything else. Many towers share space with other carriers and some also include public safety radio equipment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

        >>So while you might be torching the 5G equipment, you're also torching everything else.

        Do you really think these radicalized douchebags care? An unholy mix of dippy environmentals, unhinged rightwing loons and vested interest scam cure salesmen. All ripe for brainwashing by social media after almost a decade of high-volume lying and skull-fuckery.

        Weep.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

          I think you left out religious nutters (the base religion isn't important) and alternative medicine advocates have been the two big areas I have noticed - the desire for "a cure that ails them" that requires no changes to their lifestyle seems to be an underlying theme.

          Unfortunately, fixing this is hard - education can address the issue but many have already been let down by educational institutes or outright rejected them. Altering someone's opinions about a disease or a treatments is difficult when the disease is hard to treat or the treatment is not 100% effective and the person is directly affected by a negative outcome.

          If little Geoff died while receiving the best hospital care available while little Timmy recovered from the same thing using just essential oils, which option do you think they will recommend? They rarely see the larger picture of untreated patients dying while they focus on their new search for "truth" amongst scams and lies.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

            I can think of a cure for what ails them.

            However, we're (supposedly) civilized. For the moment.

            One wonders if the vast majority of us can be pushed to the edge, and over it, by this little, tiny minority of fuckwits and their sycophants ... and how bad the bloodshed will be if it happens. The charlatans have a lot to answer for.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

            "If little Geoff died while receiving the best hospital care available while little Timmy recovered from the same thing using just essential oils, which option do you think they will recommend? They rarely see the larger picture of untreated patients dying while they focus on their new search for "truth" amongst scams and lies."

            A bit more topical is the NHS insisting that, based on a WHO study, surgical masks are of no use to the general public and the wearing of masks is not to be promoted.

            the fact is that masks, no matter how bad, will help to slow the spread of the disease by slowing or stopping the ejection of potentially virus particles by the asymptomatic. they won't stop you catching CV19, they help to slow the spread of it.

            We should all get used to wearing masks in public if we want to start getting back to some form of normal,

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

              "We should all get used to wearing masks in public if we want to start getting back to some form of normal"

              Define "normal"? Not too very long ago, it was normal for anyone wearing a face mask in public to be considered a terrorist. Now they want us all to wear them?

            2. Norman Nescio

              Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

              A bit more topical is the NHS insisting that, based on a WHO study, surgical masks are of no use to the general public and the wearing of masks is not to be promoted.

              the fact is that masks, no matter how bad, will help to slow the spread of the disease by slowing or stopping the ejection of potentially virus particles by the asymptomatic. they won't stop you catching CV19, they help to slow the spread of it.

              Medical opinion is divided on the utility of the general public wearing (disposable) surgical masks and/or (reusable) cloth masks. In principle they would, as you say slow or stop the ejection of infective droplets. However, poorly fitting masks can (and do) aerosolize particles and eject them out of the gaps where the mask is not well sealed against the skin. In addition, a damp mask (e.g. from the humidity of your breath) acts as a great place to concentrate viable infective particles and make it more likely to succumb to whatever is floating around in the air generally, as the masks we are talking about are not 'N95' masks. Furthermore, unless you follow recommended practice by not touching the mask when in use, and removing and disposing of it in the correct manner so you don't contaminate your fingers, you are at increased risk of infection.

              Taking into account factors like the above, what at first sight seems like a common sense option is not necessarily the right one. Medical opinion is that proper, and frequent hand-washing, and not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth are far more significant in reducing transmission.

              The fact is that medical professionals, whose job it is to evaluate evidence in far more detail than I can as a lay-person, have divided opinions. While there is an apparent correlation between mask-using in SE-Asia and fewer infections, amongst other things, we don't know how reliable the statistics are from some countries. Even in the UK it is clear our statistics are subject to significant revision - and of course, if you don't, or can't, test for Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, you won't find any.

              There are some very worried and over-worked public health experts and officials trying to make the best decisions with the best available evidence, and ignoring the advice of professionals paid to evaluate just this sort of thing is usually inadvisable.

              As an individual in a relatively free society (emergency regulations aside), you can make your own decisions on this. But please don't try and generalise from your free choice to imposing your views on others - it tends to breed resentment in people who exercise their free choice to follow official advice. I would advise following the evidence, where good quality evidence is available.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

                Here in Sonoma County, the germ factories[0] are now required if you are outside your house or car. Here in the Sonoma Valley (so-called "east county"), we haven't had any new cases of Covid-19 in about two weeks. I fully expect this to change by this time next week, thanks to this ignorant new law.

                I also expect other respiratory diseases to be on the up turn, as well. Things like TB, emphysema and the myriad of other odds & ends that are umbrellaed as COPD should rise spectacularly. Given our agricultural nature, and cattle farming heritage, we might even start seeing anthrax cases again. Won't that be fun?

                On the bright side, it looks like the PTB have finally figured out a solution to the homeless problem. I hope they've budgeted for it.

                [0] My doctor friends are calling the facemasks worn by the general public "germ factories". I guess they should know.

            3. AlbertH

              Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

              The WHO?

              All you need to know about them is that they spend more each year on First Class plane tickets for their staff than they do on drugs or medical equipment.

              Charlatans.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

                The WHO isn't a medical operation. It's a clearing house for information on diseases world-wide. Kinda like Interpol is for world crime ... and equally political and useless.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

                AlbertH>>they spend more each year on First Class plane tickets for their staff than they do on drugs or medical equipment

                The report I read said the travel budget was due to lax control on last minute tickets and business class. Not 1st class. A problem I've seen in a few cors over the years.

                Needs to be better controlled for sure, but no need to exaggerate that it was blown on 1st class tickets.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

            Although there are clearly adherents of the anti-5G religion to be found in the Glastonbury Alternative types, don't think that the extreme right knob-ends are not getting in on the action too.

            Google this cockdrop:

            https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/5g-campaigner-trial-live-updates-15315540

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: ... might be torching the 5G equipment

        You forgot to account for the technical abilities of delusional arsonists. It is amazing that they can tell the difference between a cell tower and a doughnut shop. There is no way they could spot the difference between 5G and 4G - or something older. If they actually torch something 5G it will almost certainly be collateral damage.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

      I doubt it would meet the definition of treason Others have pointed out terrorism as a suitable charge but you are correct in that arson is enough to carry a life penalty.

      But have any of those responsible actually been apprehended? That's the problem and why I suggested charging those who promote the idea for incitement. It might not even stick if it gets to trial but seeing a few of their number being arrested and charged might shut the rest up pro tem which is what's needed now. In the longer term there seems to be scope for legislation to create a new offence but it would be tricky to define.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

        "create a new offence"

        No need for new laws. Encouraging (or assisting) crime is a crime in and of itself, according to the Serious Crime Act of 2007 (UK). Haul 'em in and prosecute 'em.

        Here in the States, it's a trifle murkier (that ol' 1st amendment again), but roughly speaking you can legally say "Burn the 5G masts! They is EVUL!!!!!1!1!!!' ... but you can't specifically say "burn the mast at the corner of Seventh Street and G Avenue". Suggesting that everyone get out and "Burn all the masts at 5 O'clock" could be prosecuted as incitement to riot, which is illegal.

        On the other hand, our Homeland Security charade can label pretty much anything terrorism, as can your equivalent, so I rather suspect that is the angle the Law will use in these here parts (assuming its necessary, that is ... Fortunately the mast burning loons seem to have avoided the US for the moment).

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

          I'm thinking of something a little more in advance of that. To actually get a conviction against any of these celebs (as opposed to the deterrent effect of charging a few) you'd actually need to prove a link between what was said and a particular action. Something along the lines of promoting a potentially dangerous delusion was wat I had in mind.

          OTOH maybe a communication device driving licence involving a test of critical thinking might be a good idea. It would seriously harm the mobile companies, of course.

    4. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

      It's a nice idea but I think it might be easier to make the case* that it's aggravated arson. Which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, the same as treason.

      * IANALBIPOOTI

    5. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

      So far I believe that none of the phone masts destroyed actually had any 5G kit on them.

      Even if they did, the same mast is used for all of them, usually also including Airwave so Plod, Ambulance and Fire get a degraded service too :(

      1. JohnMurray

        Re: Possibly OTT on my part but..

        https://www.speedtest.net/ookla-5g-map

  6. Anomalous Cowshed

    Two weeks ago, feeling that something had to be done rather than just sitting around at home doing nothing, I sent out a chain letter to my friends, urging people to wear masks and to put pressure on the government to produce more test kits so that we could beat, not the virus itself, but the spread of the epidemic. I asked them to join me in volunteering to work for free for such an effort, and to forward this letter to as many people as possible.

    This is what one of them sent me back in reply:

    "There is a lot going on in the background which has made me very anxious.

    So many factors that am not sure that I can be eloquent.

    There is the rise of 5G and its introduction in Wuhan and whether there is an interaction with the virus. Either way 5G is very bad news indeed.

    Bill Gates, Soros and maybe a few other billionaires with an agenda to bump off the elderly - is this part of New World Order, with open borders, Marxist, left wing dominance.

    Chinese Communist Party is responsible for this virus either maliciously ie deliberately in a lab or accidentally in the crazy primitive wet markets or escaped from a lab .....in any case they suppressed info from rest of the world for 6 weeks or more thereby allowing the world to become infected.

    Shanghai, Bejing etc hardly suffered at all.

    China has very quickly recovered and now is buying cheap US and British shares and western economies are being decimated and personal livelihoods destroyed.

    Deomcrats agenda to overthrow Trump - screwing up the economy was in their plans in January.

    Thousands die every year from the flu, the numbers from this virus may be even less.

    A better policy would have been to quarantine the over 70s or over 65s even plus all those younger with existing illnesses.

    There is very much a left wing thinking that has been allowed to unduly influence both Boris and Trump.

    Fear, panic and bullying police state has been drummed into us, unnaturally so.

    There is indeed something going on ....."

    Another friend said,"I've spoken to my husband, and while we would like to help you, we feel that..."

    Needless to say, the chain letter didn't get very far, but at least I subsequently read that the UK government's policy is becoming increasingly aligned with my [unheard] recommendations.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No point engaging with these people.

      Time to put this person on your block list and delete them from your contacts.

      It's the only way to be sure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In my case, I can't. She's the mother of my kids. Obvs., we are separated.

    2. Dom 3

      They left out the anti-vaxxers bit.

      And the meat-eating bit.

      And the alkaline diet bit.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        And the flat earth bit.

        And the creationism bit.

        1. Dom 3

          Nope, not yet seen a CT that conflates flat-earth-ism or creationism with coronavirus. But everything else, from 5G via Bill Gates to vaccination and veganism, yup.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            When searching for details about the link between 5G and CORVID-19, Bill Gates seems to come up a lot - I'm not sure what Bill did to upset most of these people but "Bill Gates experimented on Africans and now he's going to release some terrible CORVID-19 vaccine on the world after spreading the virus by 5G, just ask anyone from Africa" seemed to be a recurring theme.

            1. Dom 3

              The anti-vaxxers are taking advantage of CV19 to further their agenda (WTF *that* is I am not really sure; I can only assume that *somebody* is making good money out of it). Bill Gates is a vocal proponent of vaccination in third world countries. His logic is simple; if parents know that their children will live to adulthood, they'll have two instead of eight, and those kids will be healthier and better educated, and poverty will be reduced.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                A fragment of a Bill Gates video is often promoted as Bill Gates wants reduced population growth ,which is translated into "Bill Gates wants genocide". Not my view, not my belief, just passing it on.

                There is a lot of fertile ground for conspiracy theories. It's worth wondering why.

              2. Tomato42 Silver badge

                sowing discord in western democracies is enough for Putin to get involved, so that he can say "yeah, Russia is not in a great shape, but just look at the lunatics abroad" while amassing another trillion dollars

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              One upon a time we locked these sort of people up for their own good.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                >One upon a time we locked these sort of people up for their own good.

                Turns out putting them on TV is cheaper and more entertaining

                1. jake Silver badge

                  But it gives them a bigger audience. Which is the problem.

              2. elip

                ...and electrocuted them in the name of science!! Brilliant!

                1. jake Silver badge

                  These days we could electrocute them in the name of pay per view. Would probably make millions from the drooling masses. Sadly, live lobotomies would probably draw big numbers, too.

            3. John H Woods Silver badge

              Bill Gates, Covid19 and 5G

              On which note, I found this rather amusing

            4. Huw D Silver badge
              Black Helicopters

              COVID-19.

              Corvids are ravens, crows, blackbirds, magpies, etc.

              Unless you're suggesting it's the fault of birds ;)

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Nevermore

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      See that stuff before

      You can find all that and more on Russia Today. They are the primary source of much of it but are happy to pick up any trending rubbish that they like the sound of.

      Would pointing that out make things better or worse?

    4. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      Mother of Your Children

      Is something as warped as that seen as a fit and proper person to clean toilet bowls, let alone look after any living thing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mother of Your Children

        I think it was motherhood itself that scrambled her brains.

    5. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Looks like both you and your friend are nutters who deserve each other.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have an acquaintance like that too.

      "Chinese Communist Party is responsible for this virus either maliciously ie deliberately in a lab or accidentally in the crazy primitive wet markets or escaped from a lab .....in any case they suppressed info from rest of the world for 6 weeks or more thereby allowing the world to become infected."

      I suspect there may be some truth to that though.

    7. disinterested observer

      you need to get different friends

  7. Dippywood

    Viruses are tiny, microscopic, organic entities.

    The minds of the arsonists are similar in all respects...

    1. TimMaher Bronze badge

      Re: Viruses are tiny, microscopic, organic entities.

      Let’s hope they can’t replicate themselves at the same speed.

      1. KarMann Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Viruses are tiny, microscopic, organic entities.

        If you consider the ideas rather than those having them, then like the virus, the ideas need to infect a host to spread further. But the speed of ideas varies between the speed of sound and the speed of light these days. So, good luck with that.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Viruses are tiny, microscopic, organic entities.

        >The minds of the arsonists are similar in all respects...

        Unfortunately viruses evolve

        Idiots don't

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: Viruses are tiny, microscopic, organic entities.

          Unfortunately, idiocy grows just like virus do

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Viruses are tiny, microscopic, organic entities.

          Actually, it's fortunate that viruses do evolve. They have a tendency to evolve to become less lethal. A parasite that kills its host is usually unsuccessful unless its life-cycle is specifically tuned to that (e.g. parasitic wasps).

  8. eta-beta

    I have flagged hundreds of these demented conpiracy theorists to FB over the past few weeks, but apparently they do nothing to take them down. The only action that I have seen on their part is against somebody looking for partners to raid and torch a tower. Very sick!

    1. Mark192 Bronze badge

      Be careful - you may get on FBs ignore list. I did similar (on a different platform), reporting posts inciting murder, and all that happened was my ability to report was taken away.

      Free speech, defined as 'say what you like without consequence', is not a thing that any civilised place can support.

      Before you downvote, is a place that protects the right of people to call for murder civilised?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >Before you downvote, is a place that protects the right of people to call for murder civilised?

        What if they had found a dossier on the internet ?

  9. ColinPa

    if you dont like 5G - dont use it.

    As a lot of infrastructure will use 5G, could we just have a FB button which people press which says "I dont want to use 5G". This sends details to their supplier who stops their phone from working "over 5G".

    Along the idea of "I dont think motorways are a good idea they cause pollution. Why is there no food in the shops?"

  10. ibmalone Silver badge

    Damn, I used to like Woody Harrelson.

    Reg writers, if you need more corona-mania, the BBC claim, "Iran's Guards unveil 'magnetic' virus detection tool." It sounds depressingly familiar...

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      There's some redemption, though:

      "Update 15:15: Observers have pointed out the device was similar to fake bomb detectors sold in the region, for which people have already been detained, as we reported in 2014."

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Yes, I don't think BBC were taken in, it was just a short bulletin on this mad development that maybe didn't initially feel the need to clarify how ridiculous it was. (Though I think a lot of us could have told them what it most likely was, I could spot the familiar antenna even in the quite indistinct photograph.) What does puzzle me is that so many of these organisations fall for this magic wand con again and again (and it seems to be largely the middle east, though other countries have too*). Or maybe it's just the need to be seen to be doing something, anything? (Why, hello there, chloroquine.)

        * apparently even the Belgian police bought one in its earlier explosives incarnation. To their credit they didn't double down and try to claim it worked.

        1. Jon Blund

          "What does puzzle me is that so many of these organisations fall for this magic wand con again and again (and it seems to be largely the middle east, though other countries have too*)."

          Magic wands are all in day's work in a theocracy. Add "military intelligence" and Bob's your uncle.

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            Maybe, though I'm not sure whether Islam is supposed to approve of these practices (of course this is the same region that gave us the Thousand and One Nights, so magical tradition hasn't always been forbidden). But Iraq which bought the ADE 651 is supposedly secular, and it doesn't explain Mexico, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GT200. General scientific literacy is a factor I'm sure. (Bringing us neatly back to 5G...)

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Money

              It's purely and simply a scam.

              Person A within the government wants money, so arranges that their department should buy a shipment of stuff from Person B, who gives A a cut of the proceeds.

              It doesn't matter to either of them whether said stuff even exists, let alone works.

              However it's much easier to get away with the scam if some physical stuff is actually sent and received. Even better if the description on the PO and delivery note is of a thing that sounds useful.

              Sadly, finding and prosecuting A for corruption tends to be quite difficult.

  11. NotARobotGod
    FAIL

    My bedding is tinfoil

    Its ironic the platforms which allow the spreading of this dog s*it information is subjectively doing more damage to the world than 5G ever could.

    Even more ironic that 5G would allow these same nutjobs to spread this same dog s*it information in 4K HDR with low latency live to millions of people.

    If all networks were brought offline tomorrow they'd start a new anti LAMESTREAM media group about how licking stamps turns kids into autistic frogs.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: My bedding is tinfoil

      The Dangers of Stamp Licking!

      A Bath physician has revived the agitation against what he calls the dangerous habit of licking postage stamps. The bacteriologists tell us that the gum swarms with microbes, but then so does everything else, and those who use their finger, first putting it in their mouth, and then moistening the stamp with it, probably run as much risk as those who lick the stamp with the tongue, for which purpose it is so admirably adapted and handy.

      But there is now in operation in a central London post-office a penny-in-the-slot machine, by which the handling of the stamps is avoided. You put in a penny, insert the corner of the envelope, press a lever, and withdraw the letter with the stamp affixed. If this mechanical invention proves a success, it seems likely to be generally adopted by the Post Office authorities.

      Isle of Wight Observer 1 October 1910

      And pity the poor people licking self-adhesive stamps.

  12. mike55555

    LinkedIn?

    If he wanted people to read it, why was it posted in LinkedIn?

  13. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Not just 5G

    These cockwombles have no idea what a mast is, let alone which ones are 5G. They're just burning down anything that they think is a phone mast. Selfish, ignorant bastards. Cutting people off at a time when we need it working. It's like a bunch of rabid monkeys swarming all over the place biting people. Except they're setting fire to comms equipment. They have no concept of what it is they're even doing.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arsonists, please think

    he's not being serious, right, he's being metaphorical, etc?

  15. katrinab Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Also

    I think it stops ambulance staff communicating with hospital and dispatch staff as they arrive at the hospital, to make the necessary arrangements to hand over the patient, and to go to the next job.

  16. Chozo
    Joke

    Calm down people...

    and drink your fluoridated water. The Illuminati know it blocks high frequency 5G radiation,

    want proof then put your phone in a sink full of the stuff and watch the signal strength drop.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Calm down people...

      We don't have fluoridated water here because a shadowy cabal of dentists block it

  17. shovelDriver

    You Can Report Hate But . . .

    Please - if we're going to task FB and every other provider to patrol & police "conspiracies", let's also task them with policing hate speech.

    Which, if you think it though, may be just a little hard to do, because "hate speech" is a made-up crime. Speech may incite hate, but you either have free speech or you don't.

    For example, I can say that black is white, meaning (specious: plausible but false) one color is the same as another. Very similar to what I learned in my days in the active military, that everyone is green, neither black, white, brown, purple, pink . . . Two statements which seem similar but have entirely different meanings. I guarandamtee you that someone somewhere will call those comments racist, hate speech, and the like. Yet neither is.

    For another example, consider that many people will classify speech against conspiracies as hate speech. Which, under the false but generally accepted definition, it is.

    So before you ask that speech be corralled and lassoed and branded by ISPs and various gov't agencies, think about the unintended consequences.

    Plus, before "hating" on conspiracies, you maybe ought to ask yourself "How many conspiracies have proven to be true?" The answer, the numbers, will surprise you.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: You Can Report Hate But . . .

      but, but, but, engagement

  18. Danny Boyd Bronze badge
    Stop

    This calls for decisive measures

    Attacks on critical infrastructure (especially during national emergency) should be classified as terrorism and dealt with with extreme prejudice. As if the attackers were blowing up the tube stations or derailing the trains (because those contribute to the virus spread).

    If the law enforcement doesn't stop this madness now, coming on it as a ton of bricks, the tube stations and trains may be next.

    It is totally useless to preach to the lunatics and try to educate them. They are lunatics. They should be caught and eliminated from the society.

    The "celebrities" and other blowhards giving good advice to the terrorists should also be eliminated from the society for terror propaganda.

    This is serious, folks, human rights or not. The lunatics have no human right to terrorize other humans and must be eliminated.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: This calls for decisive measures

      Let me get this right, Danny Boyd ... You are calling for summary execution of people who destroy private property? Be very careful what you wish for.

  19. Bitsminer

    Not a "theory"

    The "theory" that 5G and viruses are related is not a theory, it is factually unsupported politically motivated disinformation posing as speculation.

    Dear Reg, please don't let the crazies frame the concepts in your reporting. Choose your own words. Ta.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have any of you considered whether this whole 5G virus thing is perhaps a False Flag Operation?

    With the ultimate intention of inviting the UK Government under the excuse of the current Emergency to bring in legislation to start censoring and filtering out unhelpful inconvenient independent sources of news and information?

    The triple topical buzzers of "5G", "Virus" and "Nightingale" coming together in the same story just seems too convenient.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Have any of you considered whether this whole 5G virus thing is perhaps a False Flag Operation?

      No.

      Just no.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have any of you considered whether this whole 5G virus thing is perhaps a False Flag Operation?

      Uh oh.

      False Flag tin-foil-hatter alert.

  21. nextenso

    Fit cameras

    Fit out of reach surveillance cameras to masts to ID criminal idiots, prob same ones who said mobile phone use would fry the brain. It's not as if a camera would not have any IT infrastructure to connect to. It's a quick low cost effective deterrent

  22. DrXym Silver badge

    What????

    So does that mean an ex-goalkeeper / sports commentator who suffered a very public mental breakdown before writing books about space lizards is not an authority on 5G and COVID-19? If only there had been some signs to warn us.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What????

      In the old days people used to go laugh at the lunatics at Colney Hatch.

      Now people avidly hang on their every word..

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm pretty sure conspiracy theorists cause stupidity. So, can we just burn them?

  24. Man inna barrel

    Some folks just need an excuse for mayhem

    Some of the people causing this destruction may be misguided activists, who believe they are doing the right thing. Perhaps such people can be persuaded by rational argument that they are mistaken. However, I fear that there are other people that just like wrecking stuff for the fun of it. No amount of rational argument will dissuade them.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Some folks just need an excuse for mayhem

      Disagree. Those who are convinced that they are being conspired against will not believe the conspirators i.e. anyone who wants the things, because we're all in it .

      Conspiricism is impervious to reason, because it mistrusts anyone who disagrees with it, on principle.

      1. Man inna barrel

        Re: Some folks just need an excuse for mayhem

        I agree with you that there are people that will treat any criticism of their views as part of the conspiracy. But in the end, this is an ineffective way of thinking. It is good for burning witches, but not much good at putting food on the table. Unless you like roast witch for dinner.

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