Via Volokh, parents in Illinois are suing to establish a moratorium on the use of WiFi in classrooms, fearing that the low-level radiation may harm kids. The concern isn't totally irrational, but there's no solid evidence that this is the case either. But plenty of businesses (like the cafe from which I'm writing this post) which make free WiFi available to attract customers may decide it's not worth risking lawsuits, whether or not the fears are sound.

NEXT: Misfires

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  1. Now if we can just get rid of those damn radio waves. Always talking and talking and talking to me. Actually, I don’t really mind the porn flashes I get from the wifi, except for all those weirdo sites.

  2. Tinfoil hats! Give them all tinfoil hats.

  3. There are a variety of opinions on continued exposure to high frequency RF. If kids get bathed in it for 6 hours a day (or more given that school double as daycare centers in some cases) it’s worth looking into.

    Just as long as you don’t get NPR on your fillings you’ll be just fine. Did you know that the people who get NPR on their fillings are the ones who fall asleep at the wheel?

  4. I assume that these parents don’t have 2.4GHz Cordless phones in their house? OR Microwave ovens? Both of these common household appliances work on the same frequencies, at similar power levels. This seems just silly to me. Maybe they should just issue crystals to the children to protect them from the harmful rays.

  5. You mean the Century of mis-information, don’t you?

    (Actually, not that much different from the 12th Century, where “walking under ladders,” “black-cat crossings,” and “hags on broomsticks in the moonlight” were invented.)

  6. Don’t WiFi signals contribute to global warming and cause widespead species extinctions.

  7. Ahhhhh… Welcome to the 21st Century and the Information Age!


    Q) When someone answers the cordless phone at my place, it shuts down my 802.11b PC network. What’s wrong?

    A) Cordless telephones operating on a 2.4GHz radio frequency can interfere
    with an 802.11b wireless network.

    SOLUTIONS: (1) Move the phone’s base station as far as you can from any network gear, including your computer.
    (2) Lower the phone’s antenna, too. If that doesn’t work, try (3) using an external Wi-Fi antenna so that the network signal is not so close to the cordless phone’s base station.
    Finally, (4) change the Channel to 1, 6 or 11 on the network access point. You will find the least interference using Channel 11.

    – Courtesy Kim Komando, The Computer Lady

  9. The concern isn’t totally irrational

    Um… why not?

    When you believe something can hurt you, even though there’s no known way it could, or any evidence that it’s hurt other people, or indeed any reason whatsoever to suspect it might (other than having the word “radio” in it — just like RADIOactive!!! panic panic)… well, doesn’t that pretty much deserve to be called “totally irrational”?

    I mean, if parents had attempted to ban cheerleaders from school on the grounds that pleated skirts cause cancer, wouldn’t that be totally irrational? How is this different?

  10. Stupid lawyers. Show a little patience here. You’re supposed to wait until it becomes a big, established industry with a lot of money, *then* you use pseudoscience and hysterical juries to shake money out of it.

  11. I don’t think many businesses will decide it’s not worth risking lawsuits. Since more and more folks are getting their own WiFi service for their notebooks, it will be impossible to tell just who’s signal is doing the “harm”. Kinda like a “neighborhood effect”.

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