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No attacks reported in US for 5G Protest Day

There did not appear to be any attacks on 5G infrastructure or technicians during the "5G Global Protest Day" on Saturday.

"It certainly appears that it was mostly quiet and relatively uneventful on the 5G protest front. I did see it looked like there may have been a small event in downtown LA and maybe a few other markets," Todd Schlekeway, CEO of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, wrote in response to questions from Light Reading.

NATE is a trade group that represents the nation's cell tower technicians. The association issued a warning to members last week about possible attacks.

"Our advisory bulletin was an attempt to be proactive and make sure our members exercised vigilance and were educated given some of the past incidents that have occurred around the country related to 5G opposition," Schlekeway explained.

At issue is the unsubstantiated claim that there is a relationship between the spread of COVID-19 and 5G. That myth has driven conspiracy nuts in the UK and elsewhere to burn cell sites and harass 5G technicians. Twitter recently said it would apply a fact-check label to tweets about the issue.

Officials from Ericsson and Verizon told Light Reading they did not record any incidents during the weekend. Wireless Estimator, a publication that tracks the US tower industry, also reported it was "all quiet" during the weekend. Representatives from T-Mobile, SBA Communications, American Tower, Crown Castle and the Wireless Infrastructure Association did not respond to questions from Light Reading on the topic. AT&T referred questions to CTIA, which referred questions to NATE.

Through its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not directly answer questions from Light Reading about possible incidents this weekend. However, the agency said in a statement that "during the COVID-19 pandemic, the telecommunication sector in Western Europe has seen an increase in attacks against its infrastructure based on unsupported theories linking 5G to the virus. CISA works regularly with our partners in the telecommunications sector in the U.S. to advise of any risks to their infrastructure and support steps to mitigate it."

DHS reportedly warned police around the US recently to be on the lookout for attacks against 5G infrastructure driven by the conspiracy theory that 5G facilitates the spread of coronavirus.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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