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The arcane symbols on the back of your gadgets could be going away

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If a new bill passes, labels required by the US could go digital

The odd, government-mandated hieroglyphs etched on to the back of the iPhone are as memorable as "Designed by Apple in California," but some could soon be relics: a new bill introduced in the Senate would allow device makers to digitally stamp phones, computers, and other gadgets, rather than physically etching symbols on to them.

Not all the stamps you see are required by the US

Although it's unlikely you'd find many people on the street who could decode them, the symbols on gadgets provide information on trade regulations and proper disposal. The E-Label Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday, would give manufacturers more leeway in how they comply with US regulations. Not all the stamps you regularly see are required by the States — the "CE" mark is for products sold in Europe — but marks like the FCC ID numbers required for gadgets built or sold in the US could be viewed on-screen instead of the exterior.

The two Senators behind the proposal say the bill would save manufacturers money and time in complying with regulations, benefits that would then be passed on to consumers. But more importantly, it comes just in time to save manufacturers from cramming labels on ever-smaller devices like smartwatches.