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Germany Urges Citizens To Avoid Using Wi-Fi At All Costs

Over-cautious luddites or savvy policy makers?

Anne Parsons
Germany Urges Citizens To Avoid Using Wi-Fi At All Costs© 2017 gunes t - Flickr

The German government has warned people against using Wi-Fi where possible because of potential unknown health risks.

The ruling, which was made in response questions raised by Green party members of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, concerns our exposure to radiation from Wi-Fi. This ruling sharply contrasts with other policies in European countries which wholeheartedly endorse the promotion of technology, like Britain, for example. Britain rigorously promotes the advancement of technology - public Wi-Fi is freely available in a number of towns and cities, and it will be the first European country to allow self-driving cars on the road in 2015.

"exposure to Wi-Fi should be kept as low as possible"

Instead of using Wi-Fi, the exposure to which should be kept "as low as possible", the German Environment Ministry recommended that traditional dial-up and wired connections should be used. The Ministry has also said that it is "actively informing people about possibilities for reducing personal exposure".

To some this may appear over-cautious, but concern about the long-term health effects of new technology has been regularly debated. The most publicly debated of which was the safety of mobile phones in the 90s and early 2000s. In many countries the safety of mobile phones is considered a given, after initial testing proved inconclusive. The Independent reports that Germany's official radiation protection body, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, or Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, has also condemned the use of mobile phones, and advises citizens to use landlines instead. The Institute has also asked people to avoid "electrosmog" from other everyday products, including baby monitors and electric blankets.

Florian Emrich, a Federal Office official says Wi-Fi should be avoided "because people receive exposures from many sources and because it is a new technology and all the research into its health effects has not yet been carried out".

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