activation lock

The New York Times is reporting that California State Senator Mark Leno plans to introduce a bill that would require all cell phones sold in the state to include antitheft technology. He hopes to curb smartphone thefts—a major problem in larger cities.

The bill is being co-sponsored by San Francisco DA George Gascón, which isn’t surprising considering he’s long been pushing for Apple and other manufacturers to build ‘kill switches’ in their devices. And if it passes, it could go into effect as early as next year…

The Times has more from Senator Leno:

“With robberies of smartphones reaching an all-time high, California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available,” Senator Leno said in a statement. “Today we are officially stepping in and requiring the cellphone industry to take the necessary steps to curb violent smartphone thefts and protect the safety of the very consumers they rely upon to support their businesses.”

And here’s the essential part of the bill:

“Any advanced mobile communications device that is sold in California on or after January 1, 2015, shall include a technological solution that can render the essential features of the device inoperable when the device is not in the possession of the rightful owner. A technological solution may consist of software, hardware, or a combination of both software and hardware, but shall be able to withstand a hard reset. No advanced mobile communications device may be sold in California without the technological solution enabled.”

Judging by the above text, it appears the bill won’t affect Apple, thanks to its new Activation Lock feature in iOS 7. The feature prevents potential thieves from turning off Find My iPhone or wiping a device without first entering the owner’s iCloud password.

In fact, several law-makers, including the aforementioned George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Scheiderman, have praised the Cupertino company for the feature. And the New York Police Department has also applauded Apple’s efforts.

If the bill gets passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, it could go into effect as early as January 1, 2015. But officials are expecting strong opposition from groups like the CTIA—which represents the wireless carriers.

  • Hermès Vainstar Chu

    They need this is the UK

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      The UK couldn’t care less about fighting mobile phone theft. To be honest I don’t think the UK cares about technology at all considering the amount of censorship they do and net neutrality just doesn’t exist anymore…

      • Kurt

        They love their spy cameras all over the country!

  • Vivek Raja

    Why didn’t they think of this earlier? My girlfriend got 2 of her iPhones stolen in one month in UK :/

  • Pato111

    IDb ads are extremely annoying, luckily I have AdBlockerNetworks installed. 🙂

    • Jonathan

      It’s iDownloadBlog’s way of making a little profit through this website.

      • Victor

        A lot of profit dumbo they have sex ads on their some people saw on my phone that’s DEGRADING!

      • Jonathan

        I think they chose companies that they want, and then the company chooses which ad to show. Do you have Limit Ad Tracking on in Settings? I’ve never seen that kind of ad. Just phones and other similar products.

      • Victor

        I will try to get a screen shot next time. I’ve seen about 7. I do not have any ad stuff that I know of.

      • Lol, sounds like targeted advertising. I see ads on Windows PCs, Tile trackers and other tech stuff; nothing dirty…Consider installing ProtectMyPrivacy from cydia, reset your Advert ID (Settings > General > About > Advertising) and prevent apps from accessing your advert ID.

      • Victor

        I’ll try that I don’t surf the web much on my phone (safari) mostly use my apps like yahoo news digest, CNN, weather occasional games/email. Thanks either way I’m not like that.

      • Marcus

        Little profit? Are you kidding me? Do you realize how successful this site is?

      • Jonathan

        Okay okay… a lot of profit.

      • Victor

        alot OMG idownloadblog makes $6,000 a day!!! ( American dollars)

      • Jonathan

        Why did you post this twice?

      • Victor

        My bad didn’t mean too my phone crashed and brought me to the other page.

      • Jonathan

        Ah, okay. =) I’d suggest you delete one, otherwise it might be considered a spam. :/

  • chris125

    And wonder how long until hackers figured it out and disabled a bunch of people’s phones while in their owners possession? This won’t stop thefts, they will find a way around it like always.

    • Ashish Maheshwari

      not everyone who steals your phone is a hacker 😐

      • chris125

        Never said they were. And I wasn’t talking about people stealing your phone, just hackers overriding the kill switch at say a mall or something and getting lots of devices(whose owner still had the phone) rendering them useless.

      • Ashish Maheshwari

        Then they could visit an apple store and get their devices working again after verification of ownership.

      • chris125

        And wait for hours to get help or even worse for those who don’t have an apple store nearby then what? This is stupid plain and simple, too much risk and it won’t be fool proof so there will end up it being exploited and people being unable to use their phones.

      • Ashish Maheshwari

        If they can disable it remotely, then surely they can enable it again after verification of ownership. Maybe through an online support ticket.
        And no digital system is fool proof. Thats the reality of today’s world. We have to live with the security we have and keep on improving it as much as we can.

  • r1ckm4r2

    This is just stupid! With so many things going wrong in California and this senator wasting people’s money on a anti theft law for phones. This senator is a joke!

    • Marcus

      Are you kidding me this is a great bill that definitely should be passed.

    • soundmanbrad

      I agree with you. What a lot of people don’t realize is that this will only raise the price of our phones, taxes, and services. These companies compete for our business and will (and do) incorporate features that make it harder to steal phones if that is important to their customers. They will do a much better job of it than bureaucratic government employees who could care less if we are happy or that we have to pay for their services.

  • gittlopctbi

    Why does CA always have to regulate things? Smart companies, like Apple, do it on their own and it becomes a selling point. And more companies, to stay competitive with smart companies like Apple, will follow suit. Mixed feelings here. Seems like they should be doing something more about the perps doing the stealing rather than telling the indirect victims–the manufacturers–what to do.