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10 March 2022

Mobi-Kids: Korean Expert Ae-Kyoung Lee’s Conflicts of Interest Revealed

Mobi-kids: Korean expert Ae-Kyoung Lee’s conflicts of interest revealed
Equipe Phonegate 10 Mar 2022

Ae-Kyoung Lee, a Korean expert who contributed to the Mobi-kids study that analyzes the impact of mobile phones on the risk of brain tumors for young people, did not declare her potential conflicts of interest with the mobile phone industry. After the French expert Joe Wiart who, like four other employees, worked for the operator Orange, and the Canadian scientist Daniel Krewski who failed to declare more than 1.5 million euros of funding from the mobile phone industry, this new breach of scientific ethics casts an increasingly dark shadow over the results of this study.

As a reminder: when the Mobi-kids article was published at the end of December 2021 in Environment International, the authors had “forgotten” to include the section on conflicts of interest. Our intervention with Ms. Elisabeth Cardis, coordinator of the study, allowed rectification of this serious lack of transparency (read our press release on the Phonegate Alert website).

To this day, the authors of Mobi-kids, to whom we write regularly to find out their position following our revelations, remain silent, which speaks volumes about their embarrassment.

Indeed, it appears that Ms. Ae-Kyoung Lee works in the research laboratory on broadcast media and telecommunications at the Korean agency “Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI).

ETRI is, according to Wikipedia: “a non-profit Korean government-funded research institute”. According to our initial research, it would seem that this organization is very closely linked to the mobile phone industry and that its activities, especially patenting, generate considerable profits.

So, as shown by figures posted by ETRI in 2014 – and remember that the Mobi-kids study took place between 2009 and 2016 – patents filed brought in over $152.3 million in royalties. And that’s just a portion of the money tied to the mobile phone industry, as one reads below:

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