California Senate Pushing Legislation of Mandatory Smartphone Kill Switch Technology

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News Posted: Fri, Feb 7 2014 9:36 AM
You may have only paid $50 for your smartphone on subsidy, or even received it for free after inking a two-year service agreement with your wireless carrier. It's actually worth much more than what you bought it for -- several hundred dollars more -- making these easily swiped handsets mighty attractive to thieves. It's become a big problem in certain areas, prompting California law makers to push for a cell phone "kill switch."

Activating a remote kill switch would render the smartphone unusable, thereby making it a little more difficult for thieves to sell. In turn, mandatory kill switches on all smartphones would then make them far less attractive to crooks, at least in theory.

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California State Senator Mark Leno, a Democrat, is expected to introduce a bill requiring all smartphones and tablets sold in his state to have a kill switch, The New York Times reports. Companies that sold phones without one could be fined up $2,500 per device.

"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."

Smartphone theft is particularly prominent in metropolitan areas. For example, there were 2,400 cell phones stolen in San Francisco last year, up 23 percent from 2012. Sharp rises have also been noticed in places like New York and Washington D.C. However, mobile carriers aren't in favor of kill switches, preferring instead to sell you insurance.
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I think I'd side with the phone manufacturer on this. Its not their responsibility. There are also 3rd party apps that can locate or even brick your phone if you lose it.

I don't trust the government to use this power only for its intended purpose.

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The legislators here in California are knuckleheads, IMO. But because the mobile carriers don't want to do the right thing and kill a stolen phone, I think this bill is a good thing. 

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Only in California would anyone think this was a good idea. So the carrier, Government can kill your phone if they wanted. If this technology had been in place in the middle students would not have been able to form a resistance. Oh I know this is America and that sort of thing never happens here, Ya we used to think our government didn't spy on either but the NSA had been doing that for a while. this is a REALLY DUMB idea, one more thing I will have to hack to disable it. The cost of my phone vs freedom, no brainer.

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ThelipThelip:
Only in California would anyone think this was a good idea.

California is the land of fruits and nuts. Having said that, the article above doesn't mention the seriousness of the problem. More than half of robberies in San Francisco involve the theft of mobile devices, and the theft of such devices accounts for nearly one-third of robberies in the United States. Los Angeles had a 12% increase in mobile-device thefts in 2012 (the most recent year available) so it seems reasonable to believe this problem is getting worse. SOURCE

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DanBorin replied on Sat, Feb 8 2014 11:56 AM

I can already do these though my BES server Why do I need the goverment

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