THE National Information and Communication Technology Authority (Nicta) says the Covid-19 pandemic has no linkage to Fifth Generation (5G) technology.
In a newspaper public notice yesterday, the regulator said there had been false claims circulating on social media that 5G technology was directly linked to the novel coronavirus.
It stated that as a result, telecommunications staff in the country had been receiving verbal abuse which was brought to their attention.
“As the national information communication technology (ICT) regulator, Nicta is obliged to provide accurate information relating to ICT matters to the public and wish to make the following points:
- There are no current or planned deployment of 5G technology in PNG and Nicta has not given a licence to any operator to provide 5G;
- The claimed linkage between 5G (or any other telecommunications technology) and the Covid-19 is absolutely false, and without any foundation whatsoever;
- Health information about Covid-19 should be obtained from the Department of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO) and not from unreliable sources;
- Nicta urges Facebook users, other social media platforms and group administrators to remove any fake news relating to the Covid-19;
- Vandalising of telecommunications infrastructure will affect telecommunications services;
- Tampering with telecommunications equipment, infrastructure and obstruction of ICT operations are offences subject to severe penalties under the Nicta Act 2009; and,
- Generating and spreading misinformation are offences subject to severe penalties under the Cyber Crime Act and Orders of the state of emergency.
“We need our telecommunications, including broadcasting services and infrastructure to be secure, fully operational and totally reliable at times like these and to fight the Covid-19,” Nicta said.
“For these services and infrastructure to be put at risk because of the circulation of completely irresponsible and false claims is intolerable.”
The regulator said it would be working with relevant agencies to identify and take action against those who did not take heed of the warning.