California governor signs smartphone kill switch bill into law

By , Aug 25, 2014

iphone theft

A bill that requires all smartphones manufactured after July 1st of next year, and sold in California, to include a remote kill switch was signed into law this afternoon. Introduced in February of this year, the bill hopes to make mobile devices less attractive to criminals, as smartphone thefts have grown exponentially in recent years, in several major US cities.

Specifically, the new law requires that each handset prompt an authorized user during initial setup to enable a “technological solution” that, once initiated, can render the essential features of the device inoperable to an unauthorized user. The solution must be reversible, must be able to withstand a hard reset, and may consist of software, hardware, or both.

The bill was created by state Senator Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon—who has been very vocal in his fight against smartphone thefts, and initially included tablets and any other “advanced mobile communications” devices. It was approved by the California State Senate two weeks ago, in a landslide victory, with a vote of 27-8.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s office found that more than half of all robberies in the city during 2012 involved the theft of a smartphone or similar mobile device. “With robberies of smartphones reaching an all-time high,” Senator Leno said in a statement, “California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available.

It’s unclear at this time how the state of California will punish those who didn’t comply with its new law after July 1st 2015, but it’s not looking like that’s going to be a problem. Major handset manufacturers including Apple, Google, HTC, Nokia, Microsoft and Samsung, as well as five major US carriers, have all agreed to be prepared to comply with the new rules.

[CA.gov via The Verge]

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  • A’s Network

    Well Apple already has a killswitch so it doesn’t have to worry. Yay.

  • Christian Mejía

    Well then.

  • David Gitman

    lol apple have remote wipe device :D

  • Steven Honey

    CINSOIRACY ALERT!!!

    This is just so they (government/globalist) can cut off all cell phone communication with the use of a state wide kill switch to the citizens, but still be able to use the cell service themselves. Soon to come to all of America.

    • Victor

      They could easily do this via satellite/towers. They don’t really need a switch c’mon man get your conspiracy right.

      • Kurt

        You act like conspiracies aren’t proven true over and over again. Here’s a big one proven true, the gov listening in on your calls, recording them, storing them in text format, etc etc. Think about all the conspiracies that are later revealed to be true and “for our safety”. You are right about the cell towers, if that’s what you are referring too. Was not the term conspiracy theorist was popularized by the CIA after the JFK assassination in order to demonize people who didn’t believe the official story?

      • Steven Honey

        They suggest that while the ‘kill switch’ would ostensibly be included to discourage theft, it could also be “exploited by malicious actors” as the Electronic Frontier Foundation explained in a letter written in June.

        It is not difficult to envisage a scenario where authorities could hijack the technology to shut down communications in a sensitive area in order to limit photo and streaming video coverage, such as at a demonstration or at the scene of unfolding police brutality.

      • Kurt

        It already happened in the middle east. Even cars can and have been hacked into.

      • Victor

        I am saying they are mostly all true buddy you read my statement wrong.

  • Victor

    they could easily do this years ago buddy…. it was just now released by the media

  • DroidGuy360

    if only they would use the kill switch to kill all iphones, the world would be a safer smarter place.

  • guy

    How can you hack find my iphone