U.S. Supreme Court Rejects CTIA’s Free Speech Plea

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed down a “no” vote to a free speech challenge brought by industry trade group CTIA against a regulation issued by the California city of Berkeley that requires cell phone retailers to tell customers of certain radiation risks, according to Reuters.

If you sell a cell phone in Berkeley, California, the city requires that you post this notice: “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.” 

“We’re disappointed with the court’s decision, and we encourage consumers to listen to the FDA, the American Cancer Society, and the international scientific community when it comes to radiofrequency (RF) exposure,” CTIA said in an issued statement to Inside Towers.  “Following a review of the expert opinions, the FCC concluded just last week that ‘there is no evidence to support that adverse health effects in humans are caused by exposures at, under, or even in some cases above, the current RF limits. Indeed, no scientific evidence establishes a causal link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses,’” the statement read.

The CTIA contends the First Amendment is being violated because the language forces retailers to make a statement with which they do not agree. The association also argued the FCC regards carrying a cell phone as a safe activity. Statements by the World Health Organization, they added, have also determined that cell phones do not pose a risk.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, ruled on this same issue in July and sided with the city of Berkeley. The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the earlier decision and again upheld the 2015 regulation issued by the California city. In the end, the posters remain.

December 11, 2019

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