Berkeley's cell phone case questions judge's relationship with wireless industry

By Dawn Geske | Oct 22, 2016

BERKELEY – The wireless industry has filed an appeal to stop notifying consumers of the harms of cell phone use at the point of sale for cell phone retailers under the Cell Phone Right To Know Ordinance.

The wireless association CTIA filed the appeal after a judge ruled in favor of the California Brain Tumor Association and the city of Berkeley that the ordinance is allowable and information about the harmful effects of cell phone use should be posted at the point of sale at all cell phone retailers in the city.

The California Brain Tumor Association maintains that science is behind this effort, since there are several studies supporting the allegations that keeping a cell phone close to the body in certain circumstances exceeds the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation, which it said can cause cancer, brain tumors, damage of the heart and sterile sperm.

“We think the science is pretty overwhelming at this point,” Ellen Marks, founder and director of the California Brain Tumor Association told the Northern California Record. “It’s important and we’re trying to accomplish that people are given the right to know that this information is in their phone or in the manual and is required by the Federal Communications Commission. They need this information at the point of sale so that they can make an informed decision for themselves and their families.”

However, the California Brain Tumor Association claims that one of the members of the three-judge panel, Michelle Friedland, is married to Daniel Kelly, a DSP senior engineer with Tarana Wireless Inc. and has worked on the 5G technology for the upcoming rollout to the market.

According to the California Brain Tumor Association, AT&T is a major investor in Tarana, which also has a past chief technology officer of Ericsson and Sony Mobile sitting on its board of directors. The association also assumes that Kelly is a stockholder in Tarana, giving him a vested interest in the wireless industry.

“If a judge has any financial interest in a controversy before her, she should have recused herself from the case,” Marks said. “Just the fact that her husband is in the industry and the timeliness of this with the 5G rollout is probably enough for her to recuse herself. His livelihood depends on this and if the CTIA is angry with her, what’s going to happen to his job? Not only that, they have a lot of money to be made from the 5G technology he designed so she and he could have financial ramifications if Berkeley prevails.”

While CTIA is seeking an injunction in the case, the California Brain Tumor Association and the city of Berkeley have plans to appeal if CTIA gets the ruling it is looking.

“We hope that they realize this is really about the constitution and what we’re doing here is factual and is not controversial,” Marks said. “It should pass and should be implemented as it has been. If we don’t prevail, we know that CTIA will take us all the way to the Supreme Court. It’s important because so many other cities and states want to do it.”

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Organizations in this Story

AT&T Wireless Ctia - the Wireless Association Political Action Committee

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