POLITICO articleCell phone gun protectors on Thursday vowed to defend themselves and their phones from armed robbers as the Trump administration prepares to issue a new federal regulation that could drastically limit the size of cell phones.
A new regulation expected to take effect in February would prohibit devices that can fit into a handbag or purse, such as iPhones, from being larger than 18 inches in width and 10 inches in height.
The new regulation is expected to lead to a reduction in cellphone size in many states, including some that already have stringent limits.
The rule was proposed by the Department of Transportation in a letter sent to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups last week, which the groups say could “result in significant increases in cell phone size in certain states.”
The letter also outlined a variety of other regulations the Trump White House may impose on manufacturers and distributors of cell phone accessories, including a ban on selling them to people under 18, a requirement that manufacturers provide them with a lockbox, and a requirement for manufacturers to remove their phones and their batteries from the home when not in use.
“We’re not here to protect you,” Michael Krieger, an executive director of the National Association of Manufacturers, told reporters on Thursday.
“We’re here to defend our right to privacy.”
Trump has long said he believes cell phones are “weaponized.”
Last week, he said cell phones would be “disarmament.”
“We’ve got to get rid of this horrible weaponization of our cell phones and the weaponization is coming,” Trump said.
“It’s a crime.”
Trump’s comments come amid a growing chorus of voices calling for restrictions on cell phone use.
While the administration has not specifically addressed the issue of cellphones, it has not ruled out any potential rules, including one that would bar them from schools and in workplaces.
In January, the Commerce Department released a report that found cellphone manufacturers in several countries are already charging fees to their customers to cover security costs.
Those fees include $25 for a $10 prepaid phone in Japan and $50 for a phone in the United Kingdom.
The Commerce Department said the fees are “in keeping with global trends” and that it would be able to identify the countries where such fees exist.
The report found that in many of those countries, phone manufacturers also charge for data use and for “access to content,” which includes text messages and photos.
The report found a number of countries, including India and Japan, have strict rules on what kind of content can be downloaded on phones.
“The United States is not immune from this scourge,” Krieber said.
“When the president says that he is going to have the power to shut down or ban all the devices that have these devices in them, that’s not the kind of thinking that is necessary for the safety of the American people.”