Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/18/mobile_cancer/
You paid €20m for UN mobe-fear - and that's just the start
Tinfoil gravy train thunders onward unstoppably
Comment The Interphone study has spent 10 years failing to find any evidence that mobile phones cause cancer, but there's no end in sight for the gravy train powered by the public's paranoia.
The Interphone study cost €19.5m, €1.75m of which came (with suitable blinding) from the GSMA, which draws revenue from member companies, and another €1.75m from manufacturers - so customers are providing that €3.5m though increased mobile bills and handset prices.
Another €2m came indirectly from operators, collected by government taxes, with governments also chucking in €9.9m of their own money and the EU throwing €3.74m into the pot. Some petty cash also comes from Canadian and French operators whose licences require a contribution to this kind of thing.
So, to clarify - we paid half the cost of the study through direct taxes and a fifth through taxes paid via the EU, another fifth was added to our phone bills and the rest came from increased handset costs.
I feel safer already.
Not that Interphone is even close to the end of the story - the COSMOS study will run for 20-30 years, and follow 250,000 Europeans. That should cover scientists filling out their mortgage applications.
We've seen special stickers and foil-lined caps offered to cash in on the continuing paranoia, but TechCrunch points us towards Tawkon: an application that guesses how much radiation your phone is emitting with a handy bar-chart to tell you when to move your head away from the phone in case all those scientists have got it wrong.
Tawkon's site even offers a handy box you can use to tell Apple you'd like "the ability to avoid radiation" (the application uses verboten APIs, so they're lobbying Apple), without going into the details of what kind of radiation you'd like Cupertino's help avoiding.
So, just to be clear: mobile phones still don't cause cancer, computer monitors still don't harm pregnant women or their unborn children, and eating space dust while drinking Coca Cola still won't make your head explode (well ... - Ed). But there are fairies flying around my desk, and I'll continue to believe that no matter how many millions of euros are spent trying to prove otherwise. ®