The Government Hates Cell Phones (a Libertarian Double-Header)

Courtesy of the interwebs, here are two stories of mobile-phone-related madness from everyone’s favorite source of superfluous caprice… local legislative bodies.

Story number one is from the New York Daily News, and tells of a new NY Department of Education policy proposal that would kinda take all the fun out of public schooling.

Public school kids soon should think twice before pulling out their cell phones: The city Education Department is set to ban “sexting” – even on students’ own time.

Under proposed new rules, kids face suspensions of up to 90 days for texting each other suggestive pictures or notes, even outside school hours.

They also can be booted from class for “cyberbullying” – targeting a victim with nasty texts or online posts.

What’s with the kids today? All this technological debauchery with their vibrating doohickeys and their hip-hop music. I tell you… in my day, we sent dirty messages over AOL! And you had to wait for a dial-up connection first.

Clearly this is an unambiguous case of overstepping legislative boundaries. If you operate under the precedent that every American student has the right to an education, then you can’t just decide that it’s okay to suspend a student for doing something perfectly legal on his own time.

I’m not even sure it’s acceptable to suspend a student for sexting while in class. Regular texting would probably warrant some kind of mild punitive action, but only based on how distracting it is; and so long as it’s not any kind of death threat, it certainly wouldn’t warrant suspension.

On what basis are sexually-suggestive texts considered worthy of suspension, when any number of non-sexually-suggestive texts aren’t? It is not the government’s job to regulate, encourage or discourage sexuality in any way. And the reason for this is simple: no member of any government branch, individually or collectively, is qualified to make sexual decisions for someone else.

Speaking of things the government isn’t qualified to do… how about making scientific claims?

What’s up with San Francisco lately? First the stupid soda bans, now this?

People already grapple with complicated information when they buy mobile devices. But San Francisco consumers soon will face one more consideration — cellphone radiation — as the result of a precedent-setting law that delights public health advocates and enrages the wireless industry.

The city recently passed the nation’s first local ordinance that requires retailers to post radiation-emission data.

“There’s enough information out there that long-term (cellphone) use may increase the risk of certain kinds of cancer,” says Mark Westlund, spokesman for the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “We believe consumers have a right to know” which devices are most and least risky.

Wow. “Enough information” to show that long-term cellphone use can lead to cancer? Where is this information? And how come we haven’t seen it sooner?

Well, we haven’t seen it sooner because the “information” doesn’t exist. There is absolutely no evidence that cell phone radiation leads to cancer, either in the long term or the short term. None.

So Mark Westlund apparently just made it up. Or was gullible enough to believe a completely unsupported conclusion and lazy enough not to bother looking it the fuck up. Either way, it’s to be expected… he is a government official, after all.

Thanks to the efforts of misinformed stooges like this, San Francisco cellphones will probably become more expensive for absolutely no reason…

“This phone over here won’t give you cancer. This phone over here really won’t give you cancer. And this phone over here really really won’t give you cancer. Questions?”

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