A federal judge in San Francisco heard arguments today but deferred ruling on a bid by a cellphone industry group for a preliminary injunction blocking a city ordinance known as the “Right to Know” law.
The measure would require cellphone retailers to provide customers with information about alleged possible dangers associated with radiation from the devices and ways that users can reduce their exposure.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said U.S. District Judge William Alsup estimated that he will issue a written decision on whether to grant the injunction within one to two weeks.
In the meantime, Herrera said, his office has agreed to postpone the Oct. 25 implementation of the measure until after Alsup rules.
The industry group, known as CTIA, claims the city ordinance violates retailers’ free speech rights by forcing them to display information they consider “grossly misleading.”
The group also contends the ordinance conflicts with federal law.
Herrera said after the hearing that the city’s position on the law is that “this is about public information.”
“It’s about informing consumers of a possible risk and measures they can take to avoid it,” Herrera said.
“Freedom of speech should be about encouraging the exchange of ideas, not keeping people in the dark,” he said.
The CTIA argued in papers submitted to Alsup that the allegedly “alarmist” warnings will hurt the wireless industry.
“The public interest will be harmed by the city’s misleading warnings and its efforts to discourage cell phone use,” the group’s lawyers wrote.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News