$350 ‘5G BioShield USB Key’ Packs 128MB Storage, Gallons of Snake Oil


The last few months have seen a surge in conspiracy theories that tie 5G (a cellular networking standard) to coronavirus (a viral pandemic). It was inevitable that we’d see scam products designed to prey on people as a result, and lo’ and behold, the “5G BioShield USB key” appears to be having a moment.

The 5G BioShield USB Key contains “Proprietary holographic nano-layer catalyst technology” that provides “remediation from all harmful radiation, electro-smog, and biohazard pollution.” It’s currently available for £283 or £795 if you buy three, and features “quantum biological shielding technology.” The feature image above, pulled from the website, makes masterful use of contrasting visual elements to tell a simple story: Smoking USB stick + St. George and the Dragon + Lion = BioShield. Right.

You can tell this is going to be a fun trip just based on what the company claims to be capable of protecting you from. “All harmful radiation” would include high-energy gamma-ray bursts, which are capable of emitting as much energy as the Sun will emit in its entire lifetime over a handful of seconds. Next, we have “electro-smog,” a nonexistent phenomenon. So far, the BioShield can protect you from a nearby star collapsing into a black hole or the EM equivalent of Santa Claus. Finally, we’ve got “biohazard pollution.”

This is an astonishingly broad claim that the FDA really ought to be looking into. A “biohazard” is defined as “a biological substance that poses a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily humans.” This includes everything from bacteria and viruses to Nickelback.

How Does it Work?

I’m so glad you asked. The 5G BioShield USB Key works through quantum oscillations to reharmonize disturbing frequencies created by electric fog. It restores the coherence of atoms by geometrically optimizing them for the induction of life force. It does this by magnetically inducing spin in your energy field and emits a number of life-force frequencies to generally revitalize the body.

One of the above claims was made up by me. The other three are from the company’s website. Can you tell which one it is?

Fortunately, Rory Cellan-Jones of the BBC pulled one of these devices apart to see what it actually contained. And the verdict is…

It’s a 128MB USB stick. With a sticker on it.

Image by Pen Test Partners, via the BBC

That’s it.

There are a lot of things people spend money on that I don’t personally find appealing. That’s fine. I once had a friend who made $200 by being willing to vacuum a dude’s house in a 1950s housedress and heels for two hours. Not the sort of thing I’d go for, but you do you.

(If I’m being honest, I was a bit jealous. I could’ve used $200.)

But devices like this are flagrant scams. They mislead people into believing they have acquired meaningful medical protection in exchange for garbage worth pennies on the dollar. No matter how frustrated I get with people who believe in conspiracy theories like a link between coronavirus and 5G, there’s a yet-worse group: The people who damn well know better and prey on the elderly, non-technical, and afraid merely because they can.

No matter how stupid theories about 5G and coronavirus sound to those of us who understand the technical facts of both situations, it isn’t crazy to doubt if authorities — governments, corporations, or both — have been completely honest about the safety and efficacy of the products, solutions, or standards they peddle.

The United States government has, within living memory, tested biological agents on its citizens and used black citizens as guinea pigs in long-running medical experiments to observe the progression of syphilis without disclosing to these individuals that their condition was curable. A 1976 flu vaccine campaign in the United States (as a response to a feared flu pandemic) caused ~450 people to develop Guillan-Barré, a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own peripheral nervous system. People who remember these things aren’t crazy to have concerns. It’s precisely because they aren’t crazy that these issues deserve to be taken seriously and those concerns answered.

Finding out you’ve been taken in by a bad (or bad-faith) argument never feels good. But the one thing worse than being duped by a conspiracy theory is being someone who knows or ought to know that the theory is absolute claptrap and deliberately spreading it anyway. Selling this kind of snake oil during a global pandemic isn’t harmless.

5G does not cause coronavirus. 5G waves are not something you need protection from. If anything, mmWave 5G needs protection from you, since you’re a much bigger threat to its ability to propagate than its pathetic penetration characteristics are to your epidermis. If you are afraid of these things, please don’t be.

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