Smartphone kill switch is now the law in California
The owner of the device will be able to “kill” their device, but so will police. Law enforcement will have to follow the guidelines set forth in California Public Utilities Code, which, among other things, may require a court order. Emergency situations which indicate an “immediate danger of death or great bodily injury” are exempt from that process.
The law is a result of an increase in theft of smartphones over the past couple of years. In tech-centric San Francisco in particular, smartphone thefts spiked, with losses costing everyone involved a lot of money. Support for such a law from carriers, manufacturers, and trade groups has ebbed and flowed in one direction or another during the process.
The bill almost did not make it after failing to pass the state Senate in April, only to pass again in May after the legislation was amended a bit. First it gave manufactures a bit more time to work out the technical details, and it also was written to apply only to smartphones, not smartphones and tablets. While CTIA switched to support the measure, AT&T, Verizon, and Samsung were among the notable parties that were not in favor of the idea for a while.
The effectiveness of this law will not be known for some time. If a thief manages to grab a device, and then immediately take it off the network so it can be sold where a kill switch or IMEI blacklist is not enforced, the kill switch law will be meaningless. Critics of the law have also expressed concerns over the potential for abuse of such a system.
1. zig8100 (Posts: 208; Member since: 13 Dec 2012)
Nice (sarcastic) So now when they tell use to stop recording and we dont they can just kill our phone to stop us from recording them(government officials) doin illegal things. Like killing people or searching our things without permission. Awesome!
2. Wiencon (Posts: 918; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)
Like they'll know your IMEI just from looking at you or your phone...
5. Ashoaib (Posts: 2965; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
infact it is a good law, I support it... when police is unable to control the crime then this type of laws are better to have instead of nothing... I hope it will prevent theft bcoz phone will be useless and worthless
4. bugsbunny00 (Posts: 1821; Member since: 07 Jun 2013)
lol well good thing i no llive there..
6. duartix (Posts: 228; Member since: 01 Apr 2014)
You might have missed the point... the technology will get to your phone! No matter where you live.
7. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 1158; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
really ? REALLY? sigh hopefully only the American variant has this bullsh*t in it !
since phones for America are always different from international variant hopefully this feature stays the same !
10. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)
I'm not in need of this myself either.
Do not want.
CA, you have opened Pandora box, the issues from LE an just plain screw ups by end users ought to make this revisited in a year or two time to be taken off again.
11. shinywindow (Posts: 155; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)
So now apple fanboyz will not be able to capture thugs beating up police officers with a stolen phone?
12. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)
LE can neutralize non stolen phones too where it's deemed important, no limits.
Maybe they just need more penal colonies, actually enforce law when an where applicable an educate users to be a little more street savvy.
Or, they could just Nuke phones.
13. Augustine (Posts: 1005; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)
Ferguson, MO PD is pining to have access to such a switch... along with N. Korea, Cuba, Syria, etc.
14. johnbftl (Posts: 266; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)
This law will not hold up in higher courts once it is contested. Considering 49 other states do not have this law, manufacturers will not be willing to create a “kill switch" just for phones shipped to California.
16. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)
Glad i Don't live in Cali. just go on GOOGLE service and shut down your phone or at least erase your data if you don't want no one using your phone
17. fzacek (Posts: 2481; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)
Can't a thief just turn on Airplane Mode, and ta-da, no more kill switch to worry about?...