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5G: Science, or Russia?

The next step in wireless communication, known as 5G, or fifth generation, will, its backers say, usher in a new era of self-driving cars, interconnected factories and blazing fast downloads. Critics warn of frightening health risks: brain cancer, infertility, autism and heart tumors, to name just a few. But does it? And where is this “information” coming from?

Not from reputable scientists, who say 5G poses no more risk — and probably less — than existing 4G technology.

A story last week in the New York Times points to a major source of anti-5G claims: RT America, the U.S.-based television network formerly known as Russia Today. U.S. intelligence officials have called it “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet.” Its stories are distributed on cable, satellite and online.

Because 5G uses higher frequencies than 4G, opponents — and RT America — claim it will be more dangerous to humans. Experts say the opposite is true: Higher frequencies of radio waves are less able to penetrate human skin, meaning internal organs are less vulnerable, not more.

RT America tends to feature “experts” whose claims have been discredited by legitimate researchers, according to the Times. And even as RT America continues its dubious reporting, Vladimir Putin is pushing hard to roll out 5G technology in Russia.

A RAND Corp. study of Russian propaganda in 2016 called the techniques employed by RT America and other Russian “news” sources a “firehose of falsehood.”

Making sense of complicated new technology is hard enough without Russian propaganda spreading bogus information. Don’t fall for it.