Health and privacy fears over ‘smart’ technology

May 2nd, 2023 11:40 AM

By Southern Star Team

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EDITOR –  I attended the ‘Net Zero’ talk at the Ludgate Hub at the weekend. At only 0.04% of atmospheric air, I’m very sceptical about (essential for life gas) CO2 being the driver of climate change, particularly as water vapour accounts for 95% of greenhouse gases. However, ideas to increase efficiency and reduce pollution are always welcome.

At the meeting, a lady in the audience complained that progress was often slow implementing ‘green’ measures because some people are ‘opposed to any change.’ 

While there’s some truth to that, it’s more likely that people become opposed to change if there’s a detrimental impact on their lives.

Many measures being implemented as green policies also restrict movements, put people under more surveillance, encroach on privacy, and in some cases are imposed by authoritarian enforcement. 

Take ‘fifteen minute zones’ (mentioned in the meeting) for example. Most things you need close by, but with extreme surveillance and technological enforcement to restrict freedom of movement. Then there are EVs, likely to eventually become autonomous vehicles. Less pollution in situ, but the massive downside is that they will only go where network controllers allow and all movements are tracked, hence no privacy from the State and corporations franchised to run the system. 

There was no mention that these vehicles just push the pollution elsewhere in manufacture and power generation, and there’s significant power loss in cabling from power plants to charging points. 

Also, no mention of the pollution in mining and difficulty in disposing of spent lithium batteries, or the extra weight of such vehicles, hence more energy consumed to propel them.

On other increased efficiency and energy-saving issues mentioned, there are many legitimate health and privacy concerns re the use of ‘smart’ technology, like electromagnetic radiation, and even health concerns over LED bulbs, while CFL bulbs contain mercury. 

These are known to cause retinal damage as well as the concerns for wildlife that were briefly covered at the meeting. 

Until issues like these are resolved (and many other issues too numerous to mention), there is always going to be public resistance, slowing of ‘progress’ and opposition to change.

Shaun Walton, 



Call-out to black and mixed-race residents

EDITOR – The history taught at our schools and universities falsely depicts Ireland as a nation that has always been exclusively white. 

Black and mixed-race people have lived in Ireland for hundreds of years. Thousands of Africans studied in Ireland during the 20th century and hundreds of mixed-race children grew up in Irish State institutions. Yet, very little is known about their lives and experiences. A new history research project at Maynooth University is addressing this lack of knowledge by recording the personal stories of black and mixed-race people who grew up in 20th century Ireland. The project, entitled Black Ireland: race, culture and nationhood in the Irish Republic, 1948-95, gives voice to some of Ireland’s most marginalised individuals and aims to start a conversation about diversity in Irish history.

 We are currently looking for people to participate in oral history interviews. Our project is open to anyone who lived in Ireland between 1948-95 and identifies as black (African/Caribbean) or mixed race (heritage of Black African/Caribbean and any other ethnicity). It represents an opportunity to have your voice heard and to discuss any aspect of your life in Ireland, both positive and negative. The research will broaden our understanding of black and mixed-race people throughout Irish history, exploring their contribution to Irish society as well as the challenges that they faced in a predominantly white society.

 If you, or anyone you know, would like to participate in the project, please email Dr Jack Crangle at [email protected]

 All inquiries and information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

 Dr Jack Crangle,

Department of History,

Maynooth University, 


Co Kildare.

I can’t stand hypocrisy of some Sinn Féin TDs

EDITOR – Coming up to the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement, footage was shown on TV of murderers of multiple people walking out of prison after five years in jail. We were told on television that it was the price of peace, or in order that others may not die.

I can reluctantly accept that.

But what I cannot stand is the hypocrisy of Sinn Féin TDs, standing up in the Dáil, and lecturing the government TDs, during the recent debate on the eviction ban’s lifting. They said the government was ‘cruel and heartless’.

To plant a bomb in a crowded bar and walk past young girls enjoying themselves on your way out – that is cruel and heartless.

Michael Hallissey, 



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