Wednesday, September 03, 2014

California requires that "kill switches" be built into smartphones

In the face of industry opposition, California on Monday became the first state requiring that "kill switches" be built into smartphones to counter theft.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring that the antitheft technology be built into smartphones sold in the state and also outlining how consumers will be able to activate their phone's kill switch upon purchasing it, according to SFGate.
"California has just put smartphone thieves on notice," SFGate quoted state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, as saying. "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."
Leno authored the bill signed by Brown on Monday. The new law is now set to go into effect in July 2015.
The law mandates that all devices sold in the state after that date must include a "theft-deterrent solution" —or kill switch that is turned on by default.
That solution, according to the bill text, can consist of software, hardware, or both software and hardware, as long as it renders a phone inoperable if the owner misplaces it or has it stolen. The device should "be able to withstand a hard reset [to] prevent reactivation of the smartphone on a wireless network except by an authorized user," the bill says.
Phones that were introduced prior to Jan. 1, 2015 and cannot reasonably support kill switch tech are exempt. And users can opt-out of having kill switch tech enabled on their device once they buy it.
Those who violate the law could face fines of $500 to $2,500.
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