A judge has ordered the city of San Francisco to tone down its warnings about cell phone radiation if it wants to make retailers hand out pamphlets on the issue, calling the original materials “misleading” and “alarmist.”
“The fact-sheet is misleading and must be corrected,” Judge William Alsup said in an order yesterday.
The ruling was a partial victory for CTIA, which sued to block the law.
The city will still be able to make wireless retailers provide customers with information about radiation from cell phones, but it has been barred from using any graphics and its fact sheets will have to note that all cell phones sold in the United States comply with FCC limits on radiation.
The court also banned the city from requiring retailers to hang posters in their stores or put stickers on marketing materials for cell phones, arguing it violated free speech rights.
The city has until Nov. 4 to come up with new fliers that comply with the judge’s order. If the city decides not to agree with the terms, its entire ordinance will be tossed out on First Amendment grounds.
The judge put a hold on the law until Nov. 30. After that date, the city will be allowed to require businesses to hand out a corrected fact sheet on RF emissions.
“There really will be little irreparable injury in complying with the fact-sheet so long as the corrections are included to mitigate the nonfactual, misleading and alarmist tenor of the fact-sheet,” Alsup said.
CTIA disagreed with the court’s decision to allow a revised version of the ordinance to move forward.
“CTIA respectfully disagrees with the Court’s determination that the City could compel distribution of the revised ‘fact sheet’ as discussed in the court’s opinion,” CTIA public affairs executive John Walls said in a statement. “CTIA is considering its options regarding further proceedings on this issue.”
The San Francisco city attorney’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.