CTIA Sues Berkeley

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Sell-old-cell-phoneCTIA—The Wireless Association has filed a lawsuit against the city of Berkeley, California, in regards to the city’s new law that requires notification of possible radiation from cellphones. The Association claims this new law is a violation of the First Amendment.  The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California, says, “Berkeley’s Ordinance violates the First Amendment because it will require CTIA’s members to convey a message to which they object, and which is factually inaccurate, misleading, and controversial,” the lawsuit contends, according to The Hill, a Washington D.C.-based website. The Berkeley City Council adopted this ordinance in May and requires retailers to give a notice of radio frequency radiation exposure guidelines with each sale of a cell phone. Berkeleyside, an independent news website, explained, “San Francisco had tried to do something similar, passing a so-called ‘Right to Know’ ordinance in 2010, but a lengthy legal battle led its Board of Supervisors to withdraw the law in 2013, after a federal appeals court blocked implementation on First Amendment grounds.” However, Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Harvard, claims that Berkeley’s law is fundamentality different, and has offered to defend the city pro bono. The new Berkeley law requires the notice to read: “To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. This potential risk is greater for children. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.” (Berkeleyside) The lawsuit states: “By using words and phrases such as ‘assure safety,’ ‘radiation,’ ‘potential risk,’ ‘children,’ and ‘how to use your phone safely,’ the City’s unsubstantiated compelled disclosure is designed to convey a particular message that will stoke fear in consumers about the dangers of cellphones.”

June 10, 2015 |
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