Monthly Archives: September 2010

EON EMF Video Digest – 9-24-2010 – Uninsurable Risks

CBC The National – Cell Phones and Insurance Companies
Wendy Mesley reports about how many insurance companies are not covering cell phone manufacturers and wireless carriers – 60% refuse to insure purveyors against future health damage suits. Devra Davis interviewed.

Proven Harmful Effects of EMF Exposure
Dr. Henry Lai, the first researcher to show double-strand breaks in DNA caused by exposure to electro-magnetic radiation (EMR), talks about the many peer-reviewed studies showing harmful health effects from long-term exposure to low levels of EMR.

Suppressing the Science on Cell Phone Risks
Leading Austrian medical researcher Prof. Franz Adlkofer coordinated the REFLEX study of EMR bioeffects funded by the European Commission. The study’s conclusion: High frequency electro-magnetic fields damage genes and gene function. He tells how telecom interests attempted (unsuccessfully) to discredit the study and destroy the careers of its authors and publishers.

Mapping Health Risks in a Wireless World
Dr. Om Gandhi, a pioneer researcher in the bioeffects of EMF exposure, explains why the recent explosion of wireless devices has made existing US EMF exposure ‘guidelines’ dangerously outdated.

EON EMF Digest 9-23-2010 SmartMeter Security

San Anselmo votes to ban smart meters in town
In a surprising turn of events, the San Anselmo Town Council voted last night to “demand” a moratorium on the installation of PG&E’s Smart Meters in town. The town also voted to begin drafting an ordinance that would place a temporary moratorium on the meters for one year.

[Citizens cheer as the San Anselmo City Council
takes a stand on ‘SmartMeters’ after presentations by

EON’s Mary Beth Brangan
and Fairfax Councilman Larry Bragman.]

Sebastopol urged to ban SmartMeters
More than a dozen people urged the Sebastopol City Council Tuesday to ban SmartMeters, which they contend may be unsafe, even if there are doubts of what jurisdiction the city has.

Data proves smart meter scheme costing everyone more
Queen’s Park – Andrea Horwath, Leader of Ontario’s New Democrats, says data from Toronto Hydro confirms that Dalton McGuinty’s so-called smart meters have raised rates for 80 per cent of consumers and aren’t producing any conservation gains for Ontario.
…“Dalton McGuinty’s so-called smart meters make eHealth look like a bargain. For a billion and half dollars we have a scheme that leaves 80 per cent of people paying higher rates without shifting usage patterns,” said Horwath. “There’s nothing smart about Dalton McGuinty’s smart meters when it’s hiking people’s hydro bills.”
A Toronto Hydro study looked at ten thousand households in Toronto that have been billed using so-called smart meters since 2009. The study confirmed that after a year of operation:
• On average 80 percent of households have been paying higher rates than before smart meters were installed and there has been little if any shift in household energy consumption.
• In one billing period – from June to September, 2009 – ninety-two per cent of households paid more.
• On average, households seeing an increase were paying anywhere from 2 to 7 per cent more.
• These increases are separate from the added cost to households for the cost of the smart meter itself. Across Ontario, consumers will be paying $1.25 – $4.45 a month for decades to recover these costs.
“The McGuinty Liberals have spent billions on a scheme that leaves people paying more and leaves Ontario falling behind in our conservation goals,” said Horwath.


Feds’ Smart Grid Race Leaves Cybersecurity in the Dust

By Kim Zetter
… “It reflects a strong consensus that cybersecurity and resilience will be critical to the realization of a modernized, reliable, and efficient power grid, so that it will be able to guarantee delivery of electricity to consumers and maintain critical operations, even when malicious cyber attacks occur,” reads the press release.
The only problem is, by the time the research project is completed, most of the nation will have already adopted untested and unsecured technologies.
How do we know they’re insecure?

Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family
by Devra Davis
Publisher Comments:
The much-anticipated, explosive expose of how cell phone use damages brain cells, especially in children, by one of the world’s foremost scientific experts in the field.
Devra Davis presents an array of recent and long suppressed research in this timely bombshell. Cell phone radiation is a national emergency. Stunningly, the most popular gadget of our age has now been shown to damage DNA, break down the brain’s defenses, and reduce sperm count while increasing memory loss, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. The growing brains of children make them especially vulnerable. And half of the world’s four billion cell phone used by people under twenty.

Davis, the founding director of the toxicology and environmental studies board at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, takes readers through the dark side of this trillion-dollar industry. Health experts have long been frozen out of policy-making decisions about cell phones; federal regulatory standards are set by the cell phone industry itself. Cell phone manufacturers have borrowed the playbook of the tobacco industry. One secret memo reveals their war plan against reports of cell phone dangers.

Among a host of fascinating characters, Davis introduces Om P. Gandhi, a world expert on how cell phone radiation penetrates the human brain. Once a consultant to major cell phone companies, Gandhi now refuses to work with them. Franz Adlkofer led the multi-lab study that showed once and for all that brain cell DNA is unraveled by cell phone microwave radiation-and, as Davis dramatically portrays, it nearly cost him his career.

As this eye-opening call to action shows, we can make safer cell phones now. Why would we put our children at risk of a devastating epidemic of brain illness in the years to come?

For video testimony and expert interviews with Devra Davis, Cindy Sage, David Carpenter, Martin Blank, Lloyd Morgan and Brazil’s Alvaro deSalles and others on this subject please see our two YouTube playlists: ElectroMagnetic Health Protection and SmartMeters, Dumb Idea . There are more posts on the way.

Could Wireless be the Next Asbestos?
Gloria Vogel
Could radio frequency-producing antennas that are essential for the wireless world be the next asbestos for the insurance industry? They could, writes Gloria Vogel, managing director of New York-based Vogel Capital Management. The insurance industry must reassess its risk management tools and beef up loss control operations—especially its application of risk management to worker safety within the wireless ecosystem to avoid potentially huge claims in the future, she says.
Advertisement
Could wireless antennas be the next asbestos?
Throughout the years, insurers have been concerned that an issue similar to asbestos would create a new round of endless losses for the industry. Lead paint, toxic mold, silica and other harmful substances have caught the interest of the plaintiffs bar, but nothing has come close to asbestos.
However, an issue that mimics asbestos and is being ignored by insurers could soon hit their pocketbooks. Simply stated, everyone’s favorite form of wireless communication and commerce depends on radio frequency-producing base station antennas, which emit radio waves and microwaves that can harm humans.

Based upon data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, it is estimated that as many as 250,000 workers a year are compelled to work in close proximity and in front of RF transmitting antennas. When combined with the 15 years this issue has been in existence, the pool of potential claimants could be staggering.

Wi-Fi in Schools Debate Heats Up

“Because Our School Board’s safety standards are going by thermal effect only, with no regard for the many biological effects that Health Canada confirms can occur from lower levels than allowed by Safety Code 6, I am keeping my daughter home from school and teaching her here until the wifi is turned off and the internet is reconnected via existing wires,” says Klein who is also C0-Chair of the Parent Council at SVE.

Parents Concerned re School Wi-Fi

There is new evidence that suggests the Wi-Fi in our schools may cause serious short and/or long term health problems, and this has some Meaford parents concerned.
What is Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi is a microwave transmitter that is used to connect to the internet without wires. Some concerned parents are beginning to feel that wi-fi might be convenient but not necessary as every school has all of the wiring required still available to plug back into the internet in every room.
Wi-Fi comes with a long list of potential health risks. Wi-Fi or wireless router signals are microwaves just like cell phones. There is growing concern that Wi-Fi is potentially harmful, especially to children. Microwave exposure is associated with infertility, neurological disorders, Leukaemia and Cancer, especially in children.
Each school has a large main antenna in the centre of the school and multiple smaller ones placed in classrooms further away to boost the signal strength as it starts to weaken. It sends signals all day/night and never gets turned off.
Is Wi-Fi safe? According to hundreds of Doctors and Researchers (including Trent University’s Dr. Magda Havas), Canada’s safety guidelines are outdated. Wi-Fi is new technology, while the safety studies are old and based on thermal effects only, meaning that if the internal organs of an adult are not HEATED in less than 6 minutes they consider it to be within the guidelines. There has never been a study done on children’s long term exposure to low level microwave radiation (Wi-Fi) and the biological effects.
Now children starting as early as three years old are exposed to this low level microwave radiation for 6-8 hours each day at school. They will be exposed five days each week for the next 14-20 years.

Thanks to Marti Kheel
Huffman Calls for Study on Health Effects of SmartMeters
Requests California Council of Science & Technology Review FCC Standards for Devices
SAN RAFAEL, CA – Assemblymember Jared Huffman issued a request to the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) to determine whether Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards for SmartMeters are sufficiently protective of public health—taking into account current exposure levels to radiofrequency and electromagnetic fields, and further to assess whether additional technology specific standards are needed for SmartMeters and other devices that are commonly found in and around homes, to ensure adequate protection from adverse health effects.
The letter is in response to numerous concerns and questions raised by individuals residing in the Assemblymember’s district, as well as the Marin County Board of Supervisors, City of Sebastopol, City of Fairfax, and Marin Association of Realtors, relating to potential negative health effects from SmartMeters, the electronic monitoring devices that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is installing statewide to continuously measure the electricity output from each household and business.
In the letter to CCST Chair Karl Pistel dated July 30, 2010, Huffman states, “An independent, science-based study by the California Council on Science and Technology would help policy makers and the general public resolve the debate over whether SmartMeters present a significant risk of adverse health effects.”

Security Pros Question Deployment of Smart Meters
The country’s swift deployment of smart-grid technology has security professionals concerned that utilities and smart-meter vendors are repeating the mistakes made in the rollout of the public internet, when security became a priority only after malicious attacks had reached mass levels.
But when it comes to the power grid, the costs of remote hack attacks are potentially more dramatic.
“The cost factor here is what’s turned on its head. We lose control of our grid, that’s far worse than a botnet taking over my home PC,” said Matthew Carpenter, senior security analyst of InGuardian, speaking at a panel at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco this week.
The panel included Seth Bromberger, manager of information security at Pacific Gas and Electric, a San Francisco-based utility company that provides natural gas and electrical services to customers in Central and Northern California and is in the forefront of the smart-meter rollout; and Matt Franz, principal security engineer at Science Applications International Corporation.
Carpenter serves on the AMI-SEC Task Force, a group working on developing security guidelines and best practices for smart-meter infrastructure, and has done penetration testing on smart-meter systems to uncover security issues. He said the most common vulnerability he’s seen so far is susceptibility to “cross-site request forgery” on the control systems.
“That took me by surprise,” he said. “That’s not something that I would have imagined to be one of the greatest vulnerabilities found.”

Russia’s Cyber Security Plans
…A report late last year by the computer security company McAfee–a report based on interviews with third party experts–said that Russia, the United States, China, France, and Israel were all developing the capacity to attack and cripple computer networks including those that run critical infrastructure such as power grids….

EON EMF Digest 9-20-2010 Darbee’s Folly

Darbee’s Folly – ‘SmartMeter’ Update
“Smart meters created ignition source” in San Bruno
[Editors’ note: CARE petition to CPUC on alleging connection between Gas Smart Meters
and electric current which might have ignited San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. ]
This petition for modification of the original Smart meter decision was filed with the CPUC yesterday. (Download PDF here)
Michael Boyd on behalf of CARE addresses the lack of a CEQA, RFR health impacts, FCC standards, interference, etc. He also states, “I allege EMF from PG&E’s Smart meters created the ignition source” (related to San Bruno explosion)

Moratorium Banning SmartMeters In SCC Passed
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors passed a moratorium against the installation of PG&E’s Smart Meters on Tuesday.
The board voted unanimously on the ordinance that places a moratorium on the meters while more information about the devices is gathered.
The ordinance states that no SmartMeters may be installed in or on any home, apartment, condominium or business in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County. Also, no equipment related to SmartMeters can be installed in, on, under or above a public street or public right of way in the county.
PDF: Santa Cruz County SmartMeters Moratorium
Any violations of the moratorium could result in misdemeanor charges, according to the ordinance.

Welcome to the Smart Meters [aka DumbMeters] Action Wiki, serving (at least) all of California — this is YOUR action center! [Maintained by Soula Culver]

PG&E Spent on Politics, not Pipelines
By Christine Pelosi
…Here’s what we know so far: residents reported smelling odors in the San Bruno community in the days before the blast. They called PG&E but nothing was detected. No one took the customer complaints up the chain of command to the bosses who had a report listing the San Francisco peninsula pipelines as “high risk.” After the deadly blast, there was some denial by PG&E that the pipeline was even theirs; then denial that the pipeline was the one in the survey, but federal investigators (who released PG&E’s survey) said the pipeline was PG&E’s.
We know the utility had the money — our money — to fix the pipelines because public filings show that just last spring, PG&E chose to spend $45 million in ratepayer dollars in a failed bid to block public power. These are funds that could have been used to repair what the utility’s own survey said was a high risk pipeline on the SF peninsula. So why make the decision for politics not pipelines? If the spending decisions were not related, why not? At the very least, PG&E should have a moratorium on political spending until they compensate the San Bruno victims and fix the pipelines.

Data proves smart meter scheme costing everyone more
Queen’s Park – Andrea Horwath, Leader of Ontario’s New Democrats, says data from Toronto Hydro confirms that Dalton McGuinty’s so-called smart meters have raised rates for 80 per cent of consumers and aren’t producing any conservation gains for Ontario.
“Dalton McGuinty’s so-called smart meters make eHealth look like a bargain. For a billion and half dollars we have a scheme that leaves 80 per cent of people paying higher rates without shifting usage patterns,” said Horwath. “There’s nothing smart about Dalton McGuinty’s smart meters when it’s hiking people’s hydro bills.”
A Toronto Hydro study looked at ten thousand households in Toronto that have been billed using so-called smart meters since 2009. The study confirmed that after a year of operation:
• On average 80 percent of households have been paying higher rates than before smart meters were installed and there has been little if any shift in household energy consumption.
• In one billing period – from June to September, 2009 – ninety-two per cent of households paid more.
• On average, households seeing an increase were paying anywhere from 2 to 7 per cent more.
• These increases are separate from the added cost to households for the cost of the smart meter itself. Across Ontario, consumers will be paying $1.25 – $4.45 a month for decades to recover these costs.
“The McGuinty Liberals have spent billions on a scheme that leaves people paying more and leaves Ontario falling behind in our conservation goals,” said Horwath.


PG&E Execs On Lavish Junket as San Bruno Exploded

As a massive gas line explosion blew up homes and created a raging cauldron in San Bruno, Pacific Gas & Electric executives were enjoying a lavish dinner in San Luis Obispo after flying there in a company jet earlier that day. PG&E Chief Operating Officer Jack Keenan arranged for the company’s jet to fly execs from their San Francisco offices to San Luis Obispo, where they proceeded to play a round of golf. The off-site meeting included Geisha Williams, PG&E’s Senior Vice President in charge of energy delivery.
As the nation asks hard questions about PG&E’s funding priorities in the wake of the San Bruno pipeline explosion, the controversial corporation has a new question to answer.
Specifically, why did it spend the money to fly execs down for a golfing junket in San Luis Obispo when there was no shortage of Bay Area locations for off-site meetings?
The expensive junket follows PG&E’s spending $50 million in a failed effort to pass Prop 16 on California’s June ballot, which led many to question why these funds were not instead being spent to ensure public safety.

RF Big Brother in Your Trash Can!
CLEVELAND, Ohio — It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders’ trash cans [oh, yeah?], but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling — and fine them $100 if they don’t.
The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.
The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn’t been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash…

EON EMF Digest 9-17-2010 – Free Zone Laws Spread

San Anselmo to join Fairfax in ‘smart meter’ ban
San Anselmo will soon become the second town in Marin to ban the installation of Pacific Gas and Electric’s trademarked SmartMeters.
Citing health and privacy concerns, the San Anselmo Town Council voted 3-0 Tuesday to instruct town staff to draft an ordinance that would place a one-year moratorium on installation of the meters. The council also directed its staff to immediately write a letter to PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission demanding that installation of the meters in San Anselmo halt now.
Smart Meter Free Zone- Photo by Karen Nevis

On Tuesday night, the council heard from SmartMeter critics. Mary Beth Brangan, co-director of the Ecological Options Network, spoke about health concerns raised by the meters’ emission of radio-frequency radiation. Fairfax Councilman Larry Bragman talked about privacy issues raised by the meters.
Brangan said that safety standards for exposure to radio-frequency radiation developed by the Federal Communications Commission address only the thermal effects of the radiation and not the risk of cancer due to DNA damage.
“The entire concept of wireless smart meters requires the unlimited use of RF radiation that will be a huge addition to what we are already living in,” Brangan said, “and we’re already living in a lot.”
Cell phones and computers use radio-frequency waves to link to the Internet and send e-mail.
Brangan said overexposure to radio-frequency radiation can cause people to become hypersensitive to it. [Emphasis added]

Moratorium Banning SmartMeters In SCC Passed
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors passed a moratorium against the installation of PG&E’s Smart Meters on Tuesday.
The board voted unanimously on the ordinance that places a moratorium on the meters while more information about the devices is gathered.
The ordinance states that no SmartMeters may be installed in or on any home, apartment, condominium or business in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County. Also, no equipment related to SmartMeters can be installed in, on, under or above a public street or public right of way in the county.
PDF: Santa Cruz County SmartMeters Moratorium
Any violations of the moratorium could result in misdemeanor charges, according to the ordinance.

Did ‘SmartMeters’ Spark San Bruno Blast?
“While investigators are looking at a number of possible causes, a consumer group put forward its own theory on Thursday, arguing that PG&E’s new SmartMeters may have sparked the explosion.
Californians for Renewable Energy reported that it had filed a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, alleging that the wireless transmissions from the meters, which measure electricity and gas use, could have created an electric current in the pipe, produced a spark and ignited the fuel rushing through line. PG&E insists that the meters, which have embroiled the company in a yearlong controversy over their accuracy, produce signals whose strength is comparable to those from a cell phone.”

F.C.C. Likely to Open New Airwaves to Wireless “Wi-Fi on steroids.”
WASHINGTON — When the Federal Communications Commission first approved the
use of unlicensed bands of the airwaves decades ago, it began a revolution in
consumer electronics — first in television remote controls and garage door
openers, then in baby monitors and cordless phones, and most recently in
wireless computer networks.
This month, the F.C.C. is likely to approve what could be an even bigger
expansion of the unlicensed airwaves, opening the door to supercharged Wi-Fi
networks that will do away with the need to find a wireless hot spot and will
provide the scaffolding for new applications that are not yet imagined.
“We know what the first kind of deployments will be,” Julius Genachowski,
the chairman of the F.C.C., said in an interview, citing wireless broadband
networks that can cover entire university or corporate campuses, for example
— what is referred to in the industry as “Wi-Fi on steroids.”
The stronger, faster networks will extend broadband signals to bypassed rural
areas and allow for smart electric grids, remote health monitoring and, for
consumers, wireless Internet without those annoying dead zones.

EON EMF Digest 9-12-10 – Cyber Security Issues

‘SmartMeter’ Security Issues

Sorry, but to understand the issues involved in PG&E’s ‘SmartMeter’ build-out plan, you have to learn a few more acronyms. The generic term is ICSs (Industrial Control Systems), which increasingly envelop us in a metastasizing meshwork of corporate and government command and control technologies. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems), with which utilities manage energy supply, together with AMI (Automated Metering Infrastructure), and so-called ‘SmartMeters’ or AMRs (Automated Meter Reading systems) constitute a new alphabet soup of systems which in turn potentially constitute a whole new soup of electromagnetic exposure in our environment.

The following three valuable posts on cyber-security and the so-called ‘smartmeters’ come to us thanks to Sandi Maurer, founder of EMRSafetyNetwork.org . One of the main take-away messages is clearly this: Building AMI, utilizing wireless anything to communicate with/manage AMRs, is deliberately introducing new weaknesses and vulnerabilities to the existing power utility SCADA mix — AMI and AMR should not take the short-run-cheap and reliability/durability-low wireless route when there are hardwired infrastructure options.

Why SCADA Security Matters–And What You Should Know About It
September 2, 2010 By Diana Kelley
SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems run critical infrastructure and manufacturing processes. SCADA is what the local power company uses to manage usage on the grid and ensure customers have energy during times of high use.

Jonathan Pollet, founder of Red Tiger Security, a consulting and testing company that specializes in SCADA and critical infrastructure, notes: “SCADA Engineers and System Integrators know how to design, commission, and maintain real-time control systems, but typically do not have the right skill sets and training to embed security into those systems. They typically do not understand how to properly harden the servers, operator workstations, and network infrastructure, and in most cases, these systems are commissioned with default passwords and administrator accounts with no passwords.”
Despite the lack of awareness about SCADA security among most security professionals, the risks associated with SCADA exploits and vulnerabilities are significant. Very worst case scenarios of distributed SCADA attacks include bringing down the power grid to a major metropolitan city (or cities) and tampering with the temperature monitoring at a nuclear power plant causing a meltdown.

Electricity for Free?
The Dirty Underbelly of SCADA and Smart Meters

Jonathan Pollet, CISSP, CAP, PCIP July 2010
SCADA Systems control the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power, and Smart Meters are now being installed to measure and report on the usage of power. While these systems have in the past been mostly isolated systems, with little if no connectivity to external networks, there are many business and consumer issuing driving both of these technologies to being opened to external networks and the Internet.
Over the past 10 years, we have performed over 100 security assessments on SCADA
(Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems), EMS (Energy Management Systems), DCS (Distributed Control Systems), AMI (Automated Metering Infrastructure), and Smart Grid systems. We have compiled very interesting statistics regarding where the vulnerabilities in these systems are typically found, and how these vulnerabilities can be exploited.
and
DoE, National SCADA Test Bed NSTB Assessments
Summary Report: Common Industrial Control System Cyber Security Weaknesses

ICS software mostly suffers from the lack of secure software design and coding practices. ICS network protocols and associated server applications are prone to MitM data viewing and alteration, as well as compromise through invalid input. This lack of security culture contributes to poor code quality, network protocol implementations that rely on weak authentication and allow information disclosure, and vulnerable custom ICS Web services.
ICS software generally uses third-party applications such as common Web servers, remote access services, and encryption services. Many out-of-date and vulnerable third-party software applications and services have been identified on new ICS version; all indications show that the ICS vendor is not supporting third-party patch management for their products.
Vendor support is needed to remediate the unnecessary exposure and vulnerabilities caused by
excessive services and unpatched systems. ICS software has not been designed for security….