Guy Kewney reports from the London Wireless LAN Event trade show that Last Mile Communications / TIVIS (Total In Vehicle Information System) Limited seem, somehow, to have done a monopoly deal with the notorious Highways Agency of the Department of Transport to install microwave beacons on 150,000 lamp posts as part of the National Roads Telecommunications Services Project. Where was the public consultation on this massive project ?
N.B. these are the same beaureaucrats who allowed the Trafficmaster Automatic Number Plate Recognition surveillance network to appear on public land without any public debate.
The National Roads Telecommunications Services Project promises all sorts of high speed telecomms network access, which is all well and good, however, the system is apparently going to work at 63 to 65 GigaHerz.
63 to 65 GigaHerz is well into the Passive Millimetre Wave Radar Camera operating range.
Are we now, thanks to this proposed massive network of external Millimetre Wave Radar spotlights, going to have our privacy further eroded by "see through walls" and "see under your children's clothes" Passive Millimetre Wave Radar Cameras and imaging systems which will now be able to snoop at longer range or through thicker obstacles, then they would normally capable of when only working with "background radiation" illumination ?
All the reassurances that Passive Millimetre Wave Radar Cameras only use "natural background" radiation and must therefore be "safe" will be nonsense if this system is deployed on our streets.
What are the health risks, if any, of constant exposure to 63 or 65 GHz millimetre wave radar radiation ? What about any harmonics which are produced by the actual equipment, at lower and higher frequencies ? Where are the health studies which prove that the proposed power levels are safe ? It is not fair to compare the alleged effect on health by using results or experience from Mobile Phone frequencies (0.9GHz and 1.8 GHz) and power levels, with a system which uses frequencies an order of magnitude higher (63 GHz).
If there have been no such health studies, then a "safe" level of power output cannot be set arbitrarily. The proposed level of 200mW has more to do with not interfering with satellite and military communications systems than with respect for human health or privacy.
We should not be repeating the mistakes made with Mobile Phone microwave frequencies and infrastructure. Show the public that these technologies are safe and will not impinge on their privacy, before the equipment is deployed at tens of thousands of locations all over the country.