As new kill-switch bill becomes law in California, smartphone thefts are already declining

As new kill-switch bill becomes law in California, smartphone thefts are already declining
A new law takes effect today in California, requiring that new smartphones come with a "kill-switch." The switch will allow users to remotely wipe and brick their handset in case it is stolen or lost. But in advance of the bill becoming law, smartphone thefts have already declined by a substantial 32% in the U.S. 

That decline took the number of thefts involving a smartphone from 2013's 3.1 million, down to last year's 2.1 million. Just the idea that the phone they are stealing can be rendered a useless brick in a matter of seconds, is making criminals think twice about risking their freedom to steal what could easily end up an expensive paperweight. Because the bill requires the manufacturers to include an opt-out Kill switch, the feature will be included on new phones by default. This way, those not familiar with smartphones or industry news will still be covered.

The carriers have long been fighting against the kill-switch bill since stolen phones are usually replaced at full price. But the new law is in effect to protect consumers, something that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have been trying to do for the last few years.

Besides California, a similar law began in Minnesota today. Since handset manufacturers don't plan on making variants of their new phones for a city or even a state, the new laws are essentially going to cover the entire U.S.

source: Forbes



1. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

lol, I remember reading a story about an idiot that stole a truck full of new LG phones. The guy was eventually caught though. When the threat on consequences isn't enough to deter criminals, then maybe try taking away the incentive.

5. waddup121 unregistered

gg phones

2. AlikMalix unregistered

Can someone tell me how this works on Android?

10. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

With Android Device Manager or Samsung Knox. On Android when you wipe your data you can restore it trough Google which every android user use, but on iOS you can do that if you had security backup turned on in iCloud otherwise you lost all data.

11. AlikMalix unregistered

No, I guess I was not clear... sorry about that.. If I bought an Android phone and it got stolen/lost, how do I activate a kill switch and allow the person to call me directly from my lost/stolen phone? Can I make a beeping sound in case I lost it in the bushes or something? Is the kill switch installed and ready to use right away, or do I need to set it up? If I used the kill switch, can I still get my phone back (on iOS you just type in your password on the device when found and you're back to normal). Is it the same process regardless of manufacturer? I know there are apps/setups that allow you to even turn on a microphone and hear what's going on around your phone - but I could not find anyone that knows what I'm talking about to see this in action. I'll be trying the S6 this fall, and this is a bit of a consern for me, as I dont have to do any setups on any iOS device that I buy: if I walk out with a brand new iPhone and it gets stolen right there - I can track it from another device with internet and lock it/erase it/make it make a loud sound like a location beacon...... Thanks in advance for those that will reply...

13. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

You only need to setup Android device manager in google services and privacy settings and you will have option to make full volume ringtione for 5 minutes, wipe all data and lock the screen with new password. If you wipe data you can easily get back with just logging on google account. Yea there are some apps on playstore that can do that like Avast Anti-Theft and Cerberus. Cerberus is cheaper and provide a lot more features than Avast for less money. You can do the same with any android device or on PC browser.

14. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

So the "kill-switch" can only wipe data off a phone(lock it) but cannot BRICK it? Do I or the author misunderstand the word "brick", "bricked phone"?

15. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Yep, brick means that you cant turn on your phone at all and it needs to be fixed. I dont know what the author was thinking unless someone makes a fake temporary brick or just bootloop animation till the owner unlock it trough PC or other device I dont see a real brick going on.

16. AlikMalix unregistered

Thanks, that is impressive.

3. CataCatalin

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 18, 2015

"cough" apple "cough"

4. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Great news.. I hope the whole world follows, I have an experience getting robbed and this thing should've been done before, I bet that thief enjoyed a lot with my phone's content now.. Ugh!

6. monoke

Posts: 1161; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Everybody and their grandmas got iphones now. The temptation to steal one just isn't what it used to be.

7. janno

Posts: 144; Member since: Aug 19, 2014

Or most iPhone users just use fingerprint authentication to lock their devices now, which makes them useless to thieves...

8. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

as much as I like this this idea it's easily abused if corruption was to occur !

9. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Can those mobile network operators do massive kill-switch? Who or what security level, have permission to do it? Can someone do it remotely(hacker)?

12. AlikMalix unregistered

I was wondering about that when Apple introduced this years ago... If I can remotely lock my phone from any computer/smartphone, can Apple, or Government? I'm glad its mandatory and it forces manufacturers that didnt implement it yet - to do it. Thieves be damned. But so far it's been years now, and no reports about governments locking their users out or something like that? but is it a "sleeping giant"? You know, like suppressing truth or propaganda of some sort if "s**t hits the fan" per se.. What you guys think (no trolls, please)

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