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San Francisco sued over cell phone radiation labeling law
Yahoo News
By: Christopher Null
07/27/10
Now the cell phone industry is striking back, with the CTIA wireless association suing to block the law, Ars Technica reports. The trade association, which represents all the heavy hitters in the mobile phone business, has made broad claims that San Francisco simply doesn’t have the authority to supersede federal rules on the matter (which require no such notice), and that the city is unlawfully inserting itself into a regulatory role in which it has no business.

San Francisco can’t issue its own rules regulating how much radiation a cell phone emits, the CITA argues, so it shouldn’t be allowed to force retailers to supply additional notice on the subject beyond what the FCC requires, either.

The CTIA is so up in arms about the issue that it has even pulled its annual trade show from San Francisco, slapping the town in the face with a financial attack that could ultimately have much more serious ramifications than its lawsuit. (Starting in 2011, the fall show will move to San Diego.)

How will this end up? The law is far from clear on whether a city can legally require notices like this, although there are some vague precedents and analogues — such as the requirement that health inspections be publicly posted in restaurants — that indicate it may have the right to make this mandate. On the other hand, the FCC is notoriously touchy about other agencies and municipalities treading on its turf, so it may very well issue rules protecting its domain. That said, the FCC has been mum on this issue so far.

Ultimately, Ars Technica hits it on the head about what the “electronic boycott” and legal action are really all intended to do: not so much to overturn the law on San Francisco, per se, but rather to scare the bejeezus out of any other city that’s considering the same kind of thing.

Take that.