5G towers could be attacked across the US this weekend, group warns

A rumored 5G protest day could take place Saturday.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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A rumored 5G protest day could take place Saturday.

Corinne Reichert

A 5G protest is being planned for the weekend, NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, warned Thursday. The Global 5G Protest Day could see mobile towers attacked on Saturday, according to an advisory, spotted earlier Thursday by Light Reading.

"NATE as an organization has heard through official channels that there are 5G Global Protest Day activities being planned throughout the country this Saturday," NATE said. "NATE reminds our member companies and their employees to remain safe, exercise vigilance and report any unusual or suspicious activities that they witness when traveling to and working at tower sites this weekend."

NATE, a nonprofit trade association, represents companies in the US, Canada, the UK, China, Singapore, Spain, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Ghana, Israel, Jamaica, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Trinidad.

Todd Schlekeway, NATE CEO, told Light Reading he heard rumors of a 5G protest day from carriers and tower companies. NATE, T-Mobile , Verizon and CTIA -- which represents the US wireless industry -- didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. AT&T didn't provide a comment.

Rumors of a protest day follow attacks on 5G towers in the UK due to false coronavirus conspiracy theories that blame the spread of COVID-19 on 5G

The conspiracy theory is false; radio waves can't cause a virusFacebook, YouTube and Twitter have all committed to taking down misinformation. UK carriers have also asked people to stop burning mobile towers, and the UK's national medical director called the 5G conspiracy theory "complete and utter rubbish."

YouTube banned videos claiming 5G caused the coronavirus back in April.

Such conspiracy theories are "alarmist" and threaten US recovery, Thomas M. Johnson Jr., Federal Communications Commission general counsel, wrote in an op ed for the Washington Post.

"As though Americans don't have enough to worry about right now, some people have recently been stoking fears about the supposedly harmful health effects of 5G," he wrote. "Conjectures about 5G's effect on human health are long on panic and short on science."

He called the fears "paradoxic" during the COVID-19 pandemic, because people need faster and more reliable internet while working or learning from home, or undertaking remote healthcare visits.

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