Reading how the Telcos are not in the least taking note of the continuing calls to cease flogging their wares to children because of their corporate imperative reminds me of somewhat of Edward S Herman's comments on normalization in his landmark essay, "The Banality of Evil".
"Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on 'normalization'," wrote Herman. "There is usually a division of labour in doing and rationalizing the unthinkable, with the direct brutalizing and killing done by one set of individuals . . . others working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive napalm, bomb fragments that penetrate flesh in hard-to-trace patterns). It is the function of the experts, and the mainstream media, to normalize the unthinkable for the general public."
I will be accused of overstating the case with such a comparison but think of the consequences for future society if the warnings about children's use of cell phones prove to be true, considering that 70%-90% of children in the Western world now use a mobile.
The telcos have normalized the public to accepting cell phones by infiltrating expert decision making bodies, such as Motorola has done in Australia and the US. They employ International PR firms to spin science and mount massive advertising campaigns and web sites, such as //www.childnet-int.org/
, to convince parents and children that cell phones are an indispensable lifestyle and safety item.
The Telcos have been extremely successful in normalizing the public to cell phones and they are here to stay, whether we like it or not.
What they hope now is that the 'bad news' health hazard stories in the media will be quickly forgotten and things will get back to business as usual.
Now that is what I would call evil.
The Telcos corporate imperative
Here are some stories from the Sydney Morning Herald on the Stewart recommendations and how the responsible Telcos are responding. As the Motorola maxim goes "Truth is nothing, what matters is what sells".
No halt to downward mobile marketing
By Julian Lee, Marketing Reporter
January 13, 2005
The mobile phone industry has ruled out changes to marketing to children in light of a warning by a leading scientist that the phones could still pose health risks.
The British Government's leading adviser on radiation, Sir William Stewart, has urged parents of children under 10 to deny them access to mobile phones until scientists can say handsets are safe.
His warnings come as the number of six- to nine-year-olds using mobiles in Australia hit 2 per cent, far less than the reported figure of 14 per cent in Britain.
Australia's mobile phone operators claim they are doing enough already to ensure that figure does not rise.
"Our position to not market to under 10s remains solely a social issue. Our resolve in this respect has not changed. The health issues remains a separate issue," a Virgin Mobile spokeswoman said.
"There's nothing new in the research and it confirms that mobile phones do not cause adverse effects," a Telstra spokesman said. Telstra is exploring a handset for the under-10s and promotions in magazines targeting 10- to 14-year-olds are acceptable because Telstra classifies them as "youths" not "children". Vodafone and Optus are not changing their guidelines that prohibit marketing to under-16s.
As chairman of Britain's National Radiation Protection Board, Sir William concluded in 2000 that there were no adverse health effects for the general public but that children should only use mobiles for essential calls.
This week he told the London-based Daily Telegraph that making mobiles available to children under nine was "ludicrous". He was more concerned about the possible health hazards than he was five years ago because the number of mobile phones had doubled, the paper reported.
In October, Stockholm's Karolinska Institute found there was an increased risk of a brain tumour for people who had used mobiles for more than 10 years.
The Federal Government agency that monitors radiation levels, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, is satisfied with the emission levels of handsets but a spokesman admitted there was still a "degree of uncertainty".
A specialist in occupational medicine, Dr Bruce Hocking, said: "There are still major concerns about the safety of handsets so if people are going to be serious where children are concerned then they should urge them to use SMS or a landline in ordinary circumstances."
Mobiles? Sure, but not for kids
January 13, 2005
British experts are urging mobile phone users to use their handsets with caution and keep them out of the hands of young children, in a report warning that mobile technology was racing ahead of studies of its potential health hazards.
The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) said there was no hard evidence of a real threat to health, but stressed the need for a "precautionary approach" to the use of mobile phones technologies.
The widespread use of mobile phones worldwide has "not been accompanied by associated, clearly established increases in adverse health effects", it said in the report.
But the rapid development of new technologies is coming "at a pace which is outstripping analyses of any potential impact on health", it added.
Citing studies in Sweden and Germany, it said that exposure to radiation levels that are lower than current guidelines may be sufficient to cause biological harm.
It backed earlier recommendations from a similar report released in 2000 calling for limited use of mobile phones by minors.
NRPB chairman Sir William Stewart said children under eight should not be given their own handsets. "I don't think we can put our hands on our hearts and say mobile phones are safe," Stewart told a press conference in London.
"When you come to giving mobile phones to a three- to eight-year-old, that can't possibly be right," he told BBC radio earlier on Tuesday.
Children face potentially greater risks to their health from radiation because their nervous system is still developing, the tissues of the head absorb more energy than those of adults and because they face a lifetime of radiation exposure, the NRPB report said.
"If there are risks -- and we think that maybe there are -- then the people who are going to be most affected are children, and the younger the children, the greater the danger," Stewart said.
He said teenagers could be given mobile phones so they can keep in touch with nervous parents, but should be encouraged to send text messages instead of making phone calls, since the phone was in use for a shorter period.
Stewart also said that, based on evidence, he recommended that mobile phone masts not be placed near schools, even though their "emissions... are a small percentage of the emissions that one gets from a mobile phone".
On Tuesday, British company Commun8, which launched the country's first mobile phone specifically designed for children, announced it was suspending sales because of the concerns raised by the NRPB.
Launched five months ago, the MyMo phone was targeted at four- to eight-year-olds, with pre-set phone numbers that could be easily dialled in an emergency.
There are some 50 million mobile phones in use in Britain, twice the number in 2000.
Mike Dolan, executive director of industry group Mobile Operators Association, said operators would study the NRPB report but said it showed that mobile technologies "operating within international health and safety guidelines" did not cause illness.
An industry body in Australia said parents should be left to decide if their children should use mobiles. The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) noted that the NRPB's study also concluded there was no hard evidence to suggest people's health was being adversely affected by mobile phone technologies.
ATA chief executive Graham Chalker said the technology was not new and the potential health impacts from radio frequency energy had been carefully studied during the past 50 years.
"Despite the lack of hard evidence of adverse health effects, ultimately it is up to parents whether they allow their children to have a mobile phone," Chalker said.
"Parents no doubt will be cautious about trading off an unproven possible risk against a known public health and safety benefit."
Chalker said the mobile phone industry acknowledged some people had genuine concerns about the devices and their issues were being addressed through ongoing research.
"AMTA supports research in accordance with the World Health Organisation's research program, to advance the science in relation to mobile phones and health and so that there is accurate information to assist people to make informed choices in relation to mobile technology and health," he said.
Telstra eyes under-10s despite mobile warning
By Julian Lee
January 13, 2005
The mobile phone industry has ruled out changes to marketing to children in light of a warning by a leading scientist that the phones could pose health risks.
The British Government's adviser on radiation, Sir William Stewart, has urged parents of children under 10 to deny them access to mobile phones until scientists can say they are safe.
His warnings come as the number of six to nine-year-olds using mobiles in Australia hit 2 per cent, far less than the reported figure of 14 per cent in Britain. Australia's mobile phone operators claim they are doing enough already to ensure that figure does not rise.
"Our position to not market to under-10s remains solely a social issue," a Virgin Mobile spokeswoman said."Our resolve in this respect has not changed. The health issue remains a separate issue."
A Telstra spokesman said: "There's nothing new in the research and it confirms that mobile phones do not cause adverse effects." Telstra is considering a handset for under-10s.
Magazine promotions targeting 10 to 14-year-olds are seen as acceptable because Telstra views them as youths, not children.
Vodafone and Optus are not changing their guidelines, which prohibit marketing to under-16s.
Sir William, the chairman of Britain's National Radiation Protection Board, said young children should only use mobiles for essential calls.
He said making mobiles available to children under nine was "ludicrous".
Omega there is hard evidence to suggest people's health:
Fields of Influence - Mobile phones "the largest human biologic experiment"
Mobile Phone Turns Enzyme Solution into A Gel