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CTIA tries to block SF cellphone law under 'free speech'

updated 11:15 am EDT, Wed October 5, 2011

CTIA argues SF cellphone ordinance violates right

As promised, the CTIA has asked a federal court to block the enforcement of San Francisco's Ordinance that warns users of the potential radiation danger from cellphones. The "Cell Phone Right-to-Know" ordinance allegedly violates the First Amendment to free speech, the CTIA argues. It also purported conflicts with federal law that governs the safety of wireless devices.

The association made claims that retailers have to distribute statements and graphics that falsely allege FCC-approved devices aren't safe for use, the The documents suggest users turn off handsets when with them in a room and not in use. CTIA vice president of public affairs John Walls went so far as to say that the flyers would be "alarmist and false."

This summer, a study by the Environmental Health Perspectives found that cellphones are not responsible for brain tumors, although contradictory studies have existed as well.

The CTIA arguments themselves have come under fire for possibly misrepresenting the nature of the law. While the radiation warnings themselves potentially overstate the danger, the San Francisco measure is meant to assuage those who want to minimize radiation in case evidence swings back towards larger risks. A free speech argument is also tenuous since, by extension, it would make all product safety notices illegal for altering the message the company wants to create.

by MacNN Staff



  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too bad...

    It is a shame that so many attorney hours are being wasted, but CTIA is right. Warnings are probably appropriate, but regulations regarding cellphone product safety are a matter for Cal-OSHA, federal OSHA and the (useless) CPSC. Probably even the EPA, but not for the bimbo politicians of every 800k-population city in the country.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't mind having

    more information, as long as the information provides the relevant related information. I can then make a decision to accept the potential risk. It seems to me that the advice to turn off the device when in a room and the device is not in use, is particularly alarmist. The studies I'm aware of link the risk to frequent use next to the user's head, not in "some proximity, in some room."

    On the other hand, car/vehicle dealerships aren't required to provide signs with information related to risk of quadriplegia or death from automobile accidents. Let alone whether, when walking, you should stay on the sidewalk and remain alert to the potential of vehicles running over you there...

  1. OldMacGeek

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So wait, they're claiming it's a free-speech issue - and yet trying to stop the spread of information by someone else? Hmmmm.

  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Long term

    It may take another decade of cell use to see what the real affects of cell phone radiation is on humans. I think we should ALWAYS be weary of any corporation that can "prove" in self funded research and studies that using their products is safe. Cigarettes were considered safe and part of a healthy life back in the 1920'--50's. We all know better today. I have been saying it for years that cell phones are the tobacco of the 21st century, addictive and dangerous.

  1. kirkrr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fine - go for it

    If the bombarding of the body by radiation is a concern, then SF should shut down TV, radio, wifi, cellular, even the electric grid, as it produces electromagnetic radiation. A dome over the city would serve to cut out the UV through cosmic spectrum. Oh, and no cars either, as the field from the alternators is spewing radiation.

    Or like the other liberal causes: coal fired electricity is evil, so shut down 43% of US energy production. Every city can take turns on the 3 days a week they go without power.

    Or hybrids and EVs, whose mining of rare earth minerals, and massive environmental waste from batteries in land fills is an order of magnitude great ecological disaster than existing alternatives.

    Yet Green Car Magazine's green car of the year 2009 - a Volkswagen Turbo Diesel, which runs on almost any bio-matter fuel, gets twice the milage of a gas car, and produces 15% of the emissions, is a non-starter in the US.

    The left is a lunatic fringe that is destroying our economy.

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