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The Courts Wireless Networking Your Rights Online

Wi-Fi Illness Claim Doesn't Impress New Mexico Court 217

Posted by timothy
from the show-me-the-blind-test dept.
McGruber writes "Arthur Firstenberg, the Santa Fe, New Mexico man who sued his neighbors, claiming their Wi-Fi made him sick, has lost what might have been his final round in court. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, state District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that no scientific study has yet proved that electromagnetic stimulus adversely impacts personal health. While he lost the lawsuit, he did score a victory: the neighbors he sued have moved out of Santa Fe."
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Wi-Fi Illness Claim Doesn't Impress New Mexico Court

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  • yay (Score:5, Funny)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:26AM (#41398971) Homepage Journal

    Basic sanity wins once in a while. Maybe one of every 50 cases.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:28AM (#41398991)

    Sanity. We haz it.

  • Simple question... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:31AM (#41399033) Homepage

    Have they found an 'electrosensitive' who's prepared to go double-blind on which of a selection of ten telephones/routers is actually switched on yet?

    A certain Mr Randi has a million dollars waiting for the first person to do it. Maybe he should apply for that so he can buy a new house in the woods (or even buy the neighbors house and make them go someplace else). Problem solved.

    • by firex726 (1188453) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:36AM (#41399105)

      Or take the Darwin approach; selection of ten wires, nine are hot and you're grounded.
      If you're electrosensitive it should be no issue to figure out which one's cold and not electrocute yourself.

      • Ill take that test. I just need 9 eager-to-help volunteers standing by.

        • by firex726 (1188453)

          Eager might be a bit of a stretch, would eight apathetic and one crazy volunteers work for you?

      • I assume you are using AC on those lines, otherwise there would be no waves to "detect". Lines with enough power to cause a fatality can be detected by normal human beings. You could use the rug to build up some static electricity on your person, then place your arm hairs near the wires. You'd have to be very careful, but I think you could do it.

      • I'm not sure the people who claim wifi sickness are keen on Darwin. Real science confuses and annoys them.
    • A certain Mr Randi has a million dollars waiting for the first person to do it.

      I'm not sure that would really apply in this case as they aren't claiming anything that is paranormal per se as they aren't claiming anything paranormal in the same way that someone who claims to predict the future is.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        The JREF expanded the scope of its challenge over the last few years. They now include things like telling the difference between Monster speaker cables and cheapo lamp wire.

        • Well, jeez. Just sign me right up. Monster cables are big and fat and have a directional arrow for the electrons. They even say "MONSTER" on them.

          Boy, did my ship just come in.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Have they found an 'electrosensitive' who's prepared to go double-blind on which of a selection of ten telephones/routers is actually switched on yet?

      A certain Mr Randi has a million dollars waiting for the first person to do it. Maybe he should apply for that so he can buy a new house in the woods (or even buy the neighbors house and make them go someplace else). Problem solved.

      There is one guy in Sweden.

      http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-02/disconnected?single-page-view=true [popsci.com]

      He does, however, live

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        There is one guy in Sweden.

        One guy in Sweden who ... what?

        Has he taken a double blind test? Even if he doesn't want the million dollars, a few minutes of suffering from him could bring relief to the millions of sufferers around the world by forcing science to take him seriously. Surely he'd want that.

        I suggest you get in touch with him and explain the situation. Report back here with his reply, we'll be waiting.

  • by roland_mai (852416) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:35AM (#41399083)
    Gentlemen we found Magneto's cousin, ElectroMangeto. His powers are retarded though.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:36AM (#41399103) Homepage Journal

    he doesn't watch television, use a computer, have any electrical device in his house, doesn't use lights of any kind, and has shielded his house from any and all radio sources?

    Did he also request that we snuff out the Sun and stars, not to mention getting rid of the naturally occurring radioactivity in the soil around him?

    What about cars/trucks that drive by his house or the street lights? Did he request to have them stopped?

    I am offering my services to prove once and for all that these people cannot tell when a wi-fi or similar device is on or off. I will offer my entire life's savings to anyone who can tell, greater than random chance, whether a device is on or off.

    • by slim (1652) <john&hartnup,net> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:41AM (#41399175) Homepage

      I will offer my entire life's savings to anyone who can tell, greater than random chance, whether a device is on or off.

      Randi's already offered $1M.

      But these people are wackos. They don't understand why a 50% detection rate demonstrates nothing.

    • I will offer my entire life's savings to anyone who can tell, greater than random chance, whether a device is on or off.

      The ones with the illuminated LEDs are on.

      PM me to get my address to send the check.

      • i can rig both a false positive and a false negative for you

        False negative: open the router and cut the traces to the LEDs

        False postive: set the router to disable the radio or just wire camo leds into the holes.

      • by ballpoint (192660)

        Indeed, and they produce narrow bandwidth insanely (whole orders of magnitude more than very, ultra, super) high frequency electromagnetic radiation that is easily detectable by a M1EB.

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:11AM (#41399667) Journal

    Went through something similar (though it didn't go to court) in my old flat, which I moved out of earlier this year. Middle-aged couple living downstairs, got on fine with them for years, then the woman's late-teenaged daughter from a previous marriage gets kicked out by her father and moves in with them in the summer of last year (putting 3 people in a flat which is, to be honest, a little small for one person and downright cramped for 2).

    This is one deeply troubled youth - clear mental health problems and surrounded by a constant stench of strong cannabis. She can also - in her mothers' eyes, do no wrong. Anyway, my life very quickly becomes absolute hell. First it's the complaints about noise. I take these seriously at first and do everything I can to limit the noise I'm making. Doesn't help, indeed she calls the police on multiple occasions, though they don't actually do anything. She loses access that particular trick after she calls the police over a weekend when I'm away visiting my parents - they force open the door to my flat and find it empty. After that, they stopped responding to her calls.

    Anyway, in the course of this, she gets to see inside my flat (while I'm not there, imagine how delighted I am) - and she notes the fairly large amount of electronic equipment. Her next move - a phone call to the council complaining that interference from the electronics in my flat is giving her headaches.

    I get a very puzzled call from an environmental health officer. He's very apologetic about the whole thing and freely admits that he has no idea whether he has any legal basis to do anything. By this point, I've already got my escape in sight - I've finally, after 4 years, been able to save for the deposit needed to get a mortage and out of rental accomodation (and to move to a much better area in the process). So I'm quite prepared to be all reasonable and light. We agree that he can come and inspect my flat for anything that might be emitting either outside of the allowed spectrum, or high-pitched noises outside the normal hearing range (which can be a genuine issue for teenagers and for some adults - like me!).

    Anyway, he comes, he waves a toolkit around and he agrees that there's absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. He sends my neighbours a letter telling them this. He and I then get a very angry letter back (or rather, he gets a letter, I get a copy pushed through my letterbox with something obscene scribbed on it as well) saying that, among other things, my wireless network is "beaming words through her head".

    Two days later, I load my possessions into a van and move off to my new home. I've not seen or heard from her since. I still see my old upstairs neighbour, who works at a station I pass through on my morning commute (and who I always got on very well with). He tells me that she continues to make life unbearable for the new occupants of my old flat and has started to turn her attention to him as well.

    It would have been interesting on one level to see what would have happened if I hadn't been in a position to move out - but I'm glad I didn't have to find out.

    By the way, this all happened in London, so it's definitely not a US-only phenomenon.

    • by DBCubix (1027232)
      I would have called Mental Health and had her involuntarily committed. At that point you have enough of a paper trail to get her some help.
      • by RogueyWon (735973) *

        Sadly, it's not that easy (at least not in the UK, where resources for these things are limited and the emphasis for mental health is on "care in the community"). In particular, it was complicated by the fact that she'd been the first one to raise a complaint with the authorities. That makes it very difficult to lodge counter-complaints without them being discarded as retaliatory actions. Besides, from about the mid-point of this sequence, I knew that I was going to be moving out in the near future, so my m

    • by slim (1652) <john&hartnup,net> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:29AM (#41399963) Homepage

      or high-pitched noises outside the normal hearing range (which can be a genuine issue for teenagers and for some adults - like me!).

      This is significant. Despite fast approaching my 40th year, I can still hear those inhumane "mosquito" devices designed to keep teenagers from loitering.

      My dad has a PSU in his study which makes a constant, loud, high pitched tone. It drives me mad. Nobody else in the family can hear it (but then, my dad's high frequency hearing is so wrecked he can't hear hi-hats).

      I find it easy to believe that someone superstitious could think that tone was electromagnetism.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RogueyWon (735973) *

        Yes, quite, I can also hear those mosquito devices, despite being well up into my 30s. When I was in my teens, my dad was a director in a small business that sold, serviced and provided training for medical electronics. It was a very small company and even the directors did a bit of hands-on engineering, so our garage was often full of bits of medical kit.

        There was one weekend that I spent seriously ill - headaches, nausea, dizziness. Eventually, I tracked it down to a monitor in the garage. My dad didn't w

        • I recently bought a 60" LG Plasma TV.

          I get headaches when watching it.

          I can also hear a high pitched sound coming out of it when its on. A bit of googling told me this is the transformer it uses to power the plasma with.

          I'm a bit concerned the two are related.

          Kind of mad I just spent $900 on a TV that gives me headaches.

          • by ADRA (37398)

            Make sure true-motion or whatever they call it in your TV (motion compensation) is turned right off. A lot of my friends have complained about feeling nautious having it on when viewing. Also 3:2 pulldown has caused similar swiming in my stomach from time to time sadly =/ The easy one is to usually enable 'game' modes which usually turn off all TV correction techniques.

            • Just go to a few Slayer shows. Sit right in front of the speakers. Your high pitch sensitivity will be cleared right up.

            • I did some research.

              Apparently Plasmas don't use motion compensation due to the 600hz refresh.

              I will try it in game mode though to see if that helps.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:11AM (#41399671)

    Q: Do you have a cell phone?
    Att: Yes
    Q: Is it normally on?
    Att: Yes
    Q: Do you drive and talk with a wireless head set?
    Att: Yes
    Q: Do you use a computer in your office?
    Att: Yes
    Q: Is it a laptop?
    Att: Yes
    Q: Do you connect to cable to access email, or do you use wireless?
    Att: wireless

    Q: Can you explain how your client ever got within 100feet of you or your office?

  • by kilodelta (843627) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:26PM (#41400863) Homepage
    Why, I hold both amateur radio extra and commercial radiotelphone licenses.

    I'd kindly explain Part 15 to him. You know, the one that says devices have to accept interference from licensed services and may not generate interference to licensed services.

    And then I'd pop a 100 foot tower on the property under PRB-1 and then proceed to transmit on 20m at 200W for starters. Maybe install a dish and do some EME or meteor scatter.
    • by confused one (671304) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @03:10PM (#41403209)

      Almost there but not quite. First step is to put up the dish, tower and antennas, then wait a couple weeks. Put up a yagi as well, pointed in the general direction of the neighbor, just for fun. When the complaints start rolling in, invite the authorities over and show them that nothing is connected to the antennas

      old trick. works to discredit neighbors who complain needlessly.

  • by Eponymous Hero (2090636) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:31PM (#41400961)
    this guy's not crazy, or sick. check for the blue meth.
  • by Maxmin (921568) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:37PM (#41401045)

    Grant that, a dosage of wifi-wavelength radio emissions of sufficiently high wattage and duration, aimed at his cranium, *would* cause this man some mental health issues.

    But people like this neglect to consider a little something I like to call the "inverse square law." Not to mention multiple layers of sheetrock and other possible cladding on the domicile.

    Recently in San Francisco I saw a sign on a house with the text "Electromagnetic Harassment" in a red circle-slash, with lightning bolt symbols around the head of a stick figure man that was falling backwards. Wish I'd taken a picture.

  • Crazy Santa Fe (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I live in Santa Fe and I work for a WISP so I deal with wireless interference all the time. Santa Fe is blanketed by WiFi as well as WiMAX, that's not counting the 50000 watt radio transmitter overlooking the city, nor is it taking into account the wireless signals used by the city, county, state, and Federal government. And don't get me started about Los Alamos National Labs not far from here which is constantly blasting out radio waves of every imaginable frequency and strength. Yet, we here in Santa Fe h

  • Cell phone radio waves are used for carrying voice. This means that they are analog in nature and are therefore sine waves. Now sine waves are by their very nature are curved. This means they are easily able to flow over and around DNA and other molecular structures such as proteins. This is not the case for digital computer WiFi EM radiation. The data computer WiFi radiation carries is digital in nature and therefore only has two values 1 and 0. This means that it is transmitted as a square wave with
  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @04:21PM (#41404067)

    My problem is that I need wifi to stay healthy. My neighbors refuse to use wifi. This cuts into my free internet usage and makes me depressed. I get constant headaches the longer my neighbors refuse to use wifi. I tried visiting a hospital but they use that inferior WPA brand of wifi which does not alleviate my headaches or sleeplessness. Should I sue my neighbors?

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @04:40PM (#41404263)
    Anyone else recall that one group of people who all said they were suffering from symptoms due to wifi? As soon as the complaint was filed, it was switched off and a month later, they were demanding that it be turned off because their symptoms were worsening and the company that owned it revealed it had been switched off a month prior. They lost the case. Dumbasses.
  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @05:48PM (#41405099)

    I can almost see the radio gear and home made antennas being carefully carried out of the u-haul van as Sir Firstenberg's new neighbors move in and make themselves at home.

    A man can dream...

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354