Should we have the right to use dangerous items?

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2016

Were you one of the thousands of people that decided to buy the Samsung Note 7? If you were, did you return your phone after it was determined it could no longer be used safely?

If not, you may find yourself with a fancy phone that is about as good as a paper weight soon, because Samsung is asking cellular carriers worldwide to send out an update that would effectively render those phones inoperable.

The update, which some carriers have refused to immediately push out, will prevent the phone from charging.  One carrier has indicated it will push the update after the first of the New Year, while another has so far indicated they have no plans to send it out due to safety concerns for the customer. While it is a good idea for the cellphone maker to protect customers from themselves, do they really have the right?

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Here’s a bit of backstory. The Note 7 was released earlier this year, but required two recalls due to a problem with the devices overheating and catching fire. That’s no simple problem, since it can cause bodily harm and possibly death. But even after two recalls, some owners of the device have refused to bring them back, opting instead to take the risk of continued use. While we live in a country that affords us a certain level of personal liberty, that personal liberty is hindered for good cause when a decision would cause harm to someone else. And this is where knowingly carrying a cellphone capable of catching fire and exploding comes into play.

While I agree that anyone that bought a device should be allowed to continue use of it, this situation creates a possible scenario where that device could lead to the injury of others should it fail while it is in a group of people. So, if you are holding onto that Note 7, consider returning it. Not only will you protect those around you, you will receive a safer device in exchange.