The California kill switch bill that would have required phone manufacturers to include a remote disable feature in devices has failed in the Senate. Bill 962, which was originally put up by Mark Leno of San Francisco, failed by just two votes.
Leno has been working to combat smartphone theft for quite some time and has such strong opinions on the situation that he even criticized phone manufacturers that recently agreed to implement their own kill switches because that move didn’t go far enough.
Almost every smartphone manufacturer in the United States–all of them are part of CTIA–has now agreed to implement extra anti-theft security features in smartphones by 2015. Since that move is opt-in rather than a requirement for the industry, Leno thinks that an actual law needs to be on the books. However, since Bill 962 has failed, it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon in California.
The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act–which calls for similar anti-theft measures–has been introduced on the federal level. However, at this point, the Act has not made it very far and must still pass the House, Senate, and the President before being enacted. Given the opposition on the state level in California, it seems like it will be quite difficult for Congress to pass a federal bill requiring new smartphone security features.
Even without laws, at least the industry itself has agreed to tighten things up. Smartphone theft is a major issue around the country and in Leno’s city of San Francisco, half of all robberies now involve a handset. Given those statistics–they are even worse in other places–it is obvious that something needs to change so that criminals are not enticed to steal smartphones.
Had the California bill been accepted, smartphone manufacturers would have been forced to include the kill-switch feature if the device were to be sold within the state.
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Summary: A California bill that would have required kill-switches in smartphones has not passed. The smartphone industry recently agreed to add similar security features by 2015, even without a law requiring them to do so.
image credit: telegraph