EDITORIAL: Why the “E-Label” act is a waste of time

No matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on, there’s no denying that our Congress has done very little for us lately. They consistently rank as the lowest-performing, least-trusted legislators in our history, and we’ve seen over and over again that they just can’t seem to actually make law to save their own lives.

Now, The Hill tells us that legislators may have found one thing on which to agree: believe it or not, Republicans and Democrats are united in their desire to rid the world of… logos on the back of cell phones. Yes really. The scourge of our day, the one thing that drives legislators to the table when all the pressing issues won’t is… the fine print on your cell.

They claim it will save money, and here’s why it won’t: Logos are silkscreened on, meaning that you don’t pay by the letter, you pay by the piece. If there’s any logo at all on the back, you’ll need to silkscreen it, and that means you don’t pay any more for all those logos. Oh sure, on millions of pieces you’ll maybe save $100 in ink for the stuff you didn’t put down, but that’s a pittance. The staff lunch in the Congressional committee to approve this law cost more than that. Not only that, if the same product is sold in Europe, it will still need to carry the CE logo and that means silkscreening.

So why even bother? It’s hard to know, but it seems like the most likely reason is that somehow carriers think that if they don’t have to put the FCC logo on the back of their gear, then they don’t have to deal with the FCC at all. Given the relatively dangerous positions the FCC has taken lately we don’t blame them but it doesn’t work that way, sorry. All devices still need FCC approval.

Oh, it should be mentioned that some devices, like those with metal or glass backs, could have those logos chemically etched on instead of silkscreening, but the argument is the same. If you are going to have any logo on there at all then you’ll need a chemical bath and a mask, so no money savings. The only potential savings would be if the FCC logo were laser etched, which takes more time if you have more stuff to etch.

Here’s the bottom line: this seems like stupid, frivolous legislation at a time when we can afford it least. It makes no sense at all from a real-world perspective and our legislators need to focus on the more important issues of our day.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.