E-Label Act Signed Into Law Allowing Manufacturers To Digitally Stamp Devices


With each and every year that passes, more and more things become digitized. Electronics are an obvious one. But since then we have seen mail evolved into email, music albums into downloads, analogue TV into digital TV and books turn into e-books. As these newer modes have become the norm, we have seen newer instruments to utilize them. Typically speaking, smartphones cater to all of the above mentioned examples and hence one of the reasons as to why they are referred to as smartphones. That said, some things always remain analogue, or physical, or real, or whatever term you used nowadays to refer to something that is not digital. An example of this is the regulatory and compliance information that is shown on the back of devices. You know, the assortment of various numbers and symbols that tell you something… if you can decipher what they mean.

These codes on US devices are designed to advise of the various trade regulations and disposing information of the said instrument. Although, they are most commonly seen now on smartphones and other small consumer electronics, they are not that new. The legislation for these codes began back in 1973 as a need for labelling on US devices. That's quite some time before any of the devices you currently own. That said, since then, they have persisted. As technology has evolved and become more digital, the regulatory codes have remained physical. However, as with everything, today, that is changing. President Obama today signed into law the E-Label Act. To be clear the E-Label Act now allows manufacturers to no longer legally have to display regulatory information on the rear of their devices. This includes any labelling like FCC numbers or ID numbers. This was a proposal made back in July and (compared to other proposals) had moved through the system, the House and the Senate at quite a fast pace.

Now, instead of etching or printing on the back of the device, the new law allows manufacturers to include a digital print on the devices. This means that the information which used to be on the back, will now be stored somewhere within the software. Although users might think this change has come about to help de-brand devices, this is not the case. Instead, the bill has been passed based on the notion that it will make manufacturing of products cheaper and easier. Not to mention, as devices like smartwatches and other wearables come out (and get smaller in size), it becomes more impractical to apply such branding. So the next device you buy (if in the US) might come a lot cleaner looking on the back. You can probably bet your bottom dollar though it will still have an AT&T carrier stamp. So what do you think about the new changes? Waste of time or a good thing? Let us know.

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John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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