Conference of Stakeholders – "Connected and Influential – Technology in the Eyes of the Stakeholders"



On June 18th, 2015, the TNUDA center convened a specialized conference on the subject of decision-making in the field of non-ionizing radiation.  Stakeholders in this field were invited to the conference, held at the Holon Institute of Technology (HIT), and for the first time discussed the fundamental issues relating to the effect of communication technologies on various aspects of the lives of individuals and society:





  • How does one determine policy in an area of scientific uncertainty?
  • Is there room for public debate? What is the role of the communications media?
  • How do various interest-groups in the society influence the process of decision-making?

The conference was an outstanding, engrossing multidisciplinary meeting between different domains of interest (health, science, ethics, law, economics, communications, etc.) and various interest groups (the general public, policy-makers, the scientific community, the business sector, the public sector, etc.).

Prof Siegal Sadetzki, Director, TNUDA

Prof Siegal Sadetzki, Director, TNUDA




The conference was conducted according to the format adopted by the World Health Organization, using various methodologies including independent work by individual participants, group work and free discussions.  During the course of the conference the participants discussed the appropriate balance between the various considerations involved in policy-making, in a field where the degree of risk cannot be measured precisely.  They also made use of a specialized model to lay the foundations for broadening expertise in the process of decision-making in this field.

Minister of Health, MK Yaakov Litzman

 Minister of Health, MK Yaakov Litzman



The conference was opened by the Minister of Health, MK Yaakov Litzman, who gave his blessing and emphasized the need for producing a book of recommendations to assist decision-makers.  His greetings were seconded by Dr. Sinaia Netanyahu, Chief Scientist of the Ministry for Environmental Protection, and by Mr Avi Anati, Deputy Director General for Planning and Control at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, and Chairman of the steering committee of the TNUDA center.

The keynote speaker at the opening plenary session was Dr. John Swanson, a senior official in the British Electricity Company – National Grid – and an expert consultant to various international bodies in the field of electrical grids. Dr. Swanson discussed approaches for using the precautionary principle in the context of the electrical grid and in other fields.


For the second part of the meeting the participants split up into four parallel interactive working groups, to discuss ideas, concepts and opinions regarding the main issues:

  • Consequences of using communication technologies, from broad behavioral and health viewpoints – in this group an in-depth discussion took place on additional health aspects not related to radiation but arising from the use of wireless communication technologies, such as addiction, acquired attention and concentration deficits, distraction and motor accidents, sleep disturbances, social and cultural changes.
  • Communication technologies in the public domain – this group discussed the balance between personal and environmental exposure, and the differences of opinion regarding exposure in the public domain (since all individual exposure is inevitably related to environmental exposure).  The group dealt with the required balance between protection of the population in general and of especially vulnerable groups, and the needs of the individual. For example, on the subject of electromagnetic hypersensitivity – EHS – the group discussed, among other questions, topics such as the distribution of antennas, forced exposure to noise and radiation, dealing with sensitive populations, and the ability and rights of small groups of people to influence policy-making.
  • Utilization of communication technologies in the school environment – In this group the participants discussed the balance between technological-pedagogical advancement and the need to protect students' health.  The discussion focused on aspects of the national teleprocessing program, which necessitates the use of advanced teaching and learning technologies.
  • "Putting the cart before the horse" – dealing with ever-changing technologies.  In this group the participants examined the appropriate procedures for the assimilation and utilization of new technologies in a situation where 'research cannot keep up with technology', and assessment of their effect on the health of users.  These discussions covered issues such as 'acceptable risk'; where does the burden of proof of risk lie ('technology is not hazardous until proven to be so' OR 'technology is hazardous until proven to be harmless')?; risk-benefit analyses in the process of decision-making.
Group discussions   Group discussions   Group discussions

Group discussions



Prof Siegal Sadetzki, Director of TNUDA and Head of the Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Unit at the Gertner Institute, stated, "I am happy that the conference was organized, because, for the first time, it brought together a forum of stakeholders in the field of non-ionizing radiation, and laid the foundations for professional and public expertise in policy-making…From impressions gained so far from the participants, it seems that the first stage of the conference was successful, and now we will begin analyzing and processing the products/output/materials obtained during the workshops  in order to draw up a document containing the various positions and opinions brought forward and to propose recommendations for policy-making in this field".