CTIA Argues SF Cellphone Ordinance Violates Free Speech

Posted by at 10:22 am on October 5, 2011

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.

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