Tuesday, August 26, 2014

California Governor Signs Law Requiring a ‘Kill Switch’ on Smartphones

By BRIAN X. CHEN NYT
August 25, 2014 7:53 pm

Governor Jerry Brown of California on Monday signed into law a measure that requires smartphones sold in California to include smarter antitheft technology, a feature that lawmakers hope will help reduce phone theft.

The bill, introduced by State Senator Mark Leno and sponsored by George Gascón, San Francisco’s district attorney, requires a so-called “kill switch” — which would render a smartphone useless after it was stolen — to be included on all smartphones sold in California starting in July 2015.

A kill switch is software that allows consumers to disable a phone after the device has been reported stolen and reactivate it only with a correct password or personal identification number. Proponents of the bill have argued that wide adoption of this type of antitheft technology would lead to a reduction in phone theft because it would make it more difficult for criminals to resell stolen phones.

“Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fueling street crime and violence within our communities,” said Senator Leno, in a statement.

(More here.)

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