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California lawmaker wants smartphone kill-switches mandatory

California lawmaker wants smartphone makers to add in a kill-switch on all new devices

By: Michael Hatamoto from Feb 8, 2014 @ 13:38 CST

California lawmakers want to make mandatory smartphone kill-switch requirements for phones in case of theft, an epidemic on the rise through metropolitan cities throughout the United States. Senate Bill 962 would take effect for both smartphones and tablets, as both mobile electronics become more common place among casual consumers.


"This is an important day for wireless consumers everywhere," said George Gascon, San Francisco District Attorney, in a press statement. "This legislation will require the industry to stop debating the possibility of implementing existing technological theft solutions, and begin embracing the inevitability. The wireless industry must take action to end the victimization of its customers."

Gascon also added that SB 962 would help clamp down on the market for stolen devices in California.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) created the bill that would make it a requirement for smartphone makers to provide the built-in kill switches by Jan. 1, 2015. More than 50 percent of thefts in San Francisco involve an Apple iPhone or other smartphone, local city officials recently reported.

There is some concern from privacy experts that remote phone backdoors could lead to intrusion from cyber criminals. The law could also make smartphone manufacturers need to rethink hardware used in current and future products, as they rebel against the thought of a mandatory kill switch.

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