In early 2007, a group of "electro-sensitive activists" coalesced in opposition to use of Wi-Fi (wireless internet) technology at city hall, in public libraries and on the downtown Plaza. As a result, city hall turns off its Wi-Fi network when public meetings are held and wireless connectivity on the Plaza remains either a dream or a nightmare, depending on one's perspective.
The public libraries continue to provide free Wi-Fi and continue to be the only point of internet accessibility for many citizens.
More recently, the issue has come into sharper public dialogue as Wi-Fi foes rallied around the film Full Signal, continued to claim that municipal Wi-Fi networks violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, cast suspicion on digital television broadcasts and battle with with revisions to Santa Fe's telecommunications ordinance. Concern about the effects of "electrosmog" or "electronic pollution"—catch all phrases that include cellular telephones and towers, power lines, Wi-Fi and other forms of measurable electronic radiation—is gaining ground in Santa Fe.
At the same time, a series of investigative reports, opinion columns and responsible blog posts have indicated that concerns about "electrosmog" are radically overblown and argued that no legitimate studies yet show any correlation with negative effects on human health. Below is a list of articles and resources related to the issue. What do you think, Santa Fe?
03.14.2007: From science writer George Johnson's blog, Santa Fe Review
04.16.2008: How necessary is the Neighborhood Conservation District ordinance? Heavy resistance to free Wi-Fi continues and the grocery bag tax...
06.24.2009: Wi-Fi foes raise fears about the transition to digital television. But such fears fizzle in the face of facts.
11.17.2009: FDA to discuss wave effects on tissue.
01.06.2010: "Electrosensitive" activist sues to stop neighbor's iPhone use.
01.13.2010: Local artist Raphaela Monribot may be the first person to face a $530,000 lawsuit for using her iPhone. Monribot was named in a lawsuit filed Jan. 4 in the 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe by her friend and neighbor, Arthur Firstenberg.
02.11.2010: From science writer George Johnson's blog, Santa Fe Review.
02.12.2010: From science writer George Johnson's blog, Santa Fe Review.
02.17.2010: What if the anti-antenna activists are right about Wi-Fi rotting our brains? Western, industrialized civilization with its banking scandals, factory farming, military industrial complexes, colonialism, energy consumption, spectacle-based society and technology fetishism would die a horrible, self-inflicted, tumor-riddled death. So, why are they opposing it?
03.09.2010: From science writer George Johnson's blog, Santa Fe Review.
03.10.2010: The New Mex fails its readers and enables con artists
03.15.2010: Recently appointed First Judicial District Judge Sarah Singleton delayed ruling today on the much-publicized case of a local anti-wi-fi activist who sued his neighbor to stop her use of an iPhone and wireless internet.
03.24.2010: Business is booming for those selling devices that promise protection from cell phones, Wi-Fi and other sources of EMF, or electromagnetic fields. In a warehouse off Rufina Street, not far from an industrial park, there is a showroom for “state-of-the-art products for a healthier lifestyle.”
04.05.2010: Judge Singleton broadly rules that Firstenberg is unlikely to prevail on the merits of his claim, because he has failed to prove that Monribot's home electronics are the specific cause of his symptoms.