Berkeley considers cell phone “Right to Know” legislation

On May 12, Berkeley City Council will consider a “right to know” ordinance regarding safe distances and cell phones. The idea is to require retailers to hand consumers a city prepared document advising them to never carry the phone in on mode next to their bodies such as in a bra or pocket. It will also direct them to read the FCC required language in the manual or on the phone, and will mention that children are more vulnerable.

According to Ellen Marks, Executive Director of the California Brain Tumor Association, in an editorial on the Berkeleyside news website, “The wireless industry has blocked this information at point of sale across the U.S. by threatening lawsuits when a similar ordinance is considered. It sued San Francisco, which was forced to repeal its cellphone right to know law which passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously.”

Ms. Marks goes on to explain in an email to supporters that “Constitutional law professor Lawrence Lessig helped us draft this legislation and will be in Berkeley to discuss it with
the City Council at the May 12 meeting. He will also defend Berkeley pro bono against a CTIA lawsuit. Lessig is putting together a team and has promised to defend this in any city or state when they adopt this legislation.”

If you are interested in weighing in on this debate, you may email the council directly at


About ibemc

Executive Director, IBE
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