The current protests in Ferguson, Missouri, related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, has led to a rather curious debate: could kill switches help police authorities limit journalists and protesters to stop recording video using their smartphones and tablets?
"If the California bill were in place in Missouri, these officers might deploy the government kill switch alongside tear gas and rubber bullets, using the mandated technology to stop coordination between protesters, cut off access to outside information, and shut down video recordings that can deter police misconduct," said Jake Laperruque, Center for Democracy & Technology fellow, in a statement to the media.
It remains unknown if the police would have a realistic ability to turn off smartphones, as the authorities would essentially need to hack the phones. Instead, it's more likely the police would temporarily turn off wireless service in select areas, which is what the police did during protests in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011.
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