Smartphone "Kill Switch" bill passes second senate vote in California

Late last month, the California State Senate voted 19 to 17 to shoot down a bill that would have forced manufacturers to equip any smartphone to be sold in California, with a "Kill Switch" that could remotely shut down a stolen or lost smartphone. That would make the device useless to anyone who stole the device for their own use, or to sell in the black market in the U.S. or overseas.

After getting shot down, changes were made to the bill. SB962 was revised to allow manufacturers 6 months to figure out how they will add the "Kill Switch" to their handsets. The revised language of the bill now requires all smartphones sold in California after July 1st, 2015, to have the "Kill Switch". And tablets would not have to comply. With those changes made, companies like Apple and Microsoft did a 180 degree change and now support the bill. Critics in the Senate also changed their vote from "no" to "go" and the revised bill passed 26 to 8 with all Democrats voting in favor of it.

Not all companies in the smartphone industry changed their opinion on the bill. Some, like Samsung, Verizon, AT&T and others, said that SB962 will block innovation in the industry. But talk like that is nothing new for San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, a sponsor of the bill. Gascon has blamed the smartphone manufacturers and the carriers for previously blocking a "Kill Switch" bill. It is estimated that replacing lost and stolen smartphones is a $300 billion business in the states. It is also estimated that the four top carriers in the U.S. take in $8 billion a year selling premium insurance policies that cover the theft and loss of smartphones. The D.A. has long said that the industry fears losing these replacement revenues, which explains its resistance to adding a "Kill Switch"

The bill now will be voted on by the California State Assembly, which will probably revise it some more. There is talk of adding some laws to prevent a cellphone belonging to a domestic abuse victim, from getting remotely locked by his or her abuser.
source: SanJoseMercuryNews via Engadget



1. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

And so the "War on Phone Theft" begins. I'm sure with the same great results as the "War on Drugs" and the "War on Terror".

2. Peeyushmalik96

Posts: 75; Member since: Jun 08, 2013

And can someone explain me how such a bill would be a hindrance to innovation??? Also why aren't the tablets covered?

3. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Because carriers will have to spend a lot of money on this nanny state nonsense, money that could be spent elsewhere, i.e. on "innovation". It's not really the truth, but it's as much as they can say. Tablets aren't covered because most of them are wifi and adding all this nanny state nonsense to wifi tablets would be too obviously related to the Federal government and NSA who want remote kill/control over every single device sold in the USA. They'd need the ability to punch through firewalls and/or have the tablets phone home to renew activation codes, that sort of stuff. Basically government monitoring worse than anything in history.

4. Furbal unregistered

Money spent on making sure they are in compliance, having the proper documents, setting up replacements for devices that fail or are killed on accident instead of building out more coverage or upgrading current towers.

5. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

We all need this, then we won't have to be Find my iphone vigilantes

7. CoastCity

Posts: 257; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Yeeees, we all need our phone, with which we are prompted to pay and be paid, to have a governmental killing switch. How much naive are people today

6. HtcEddie1ne

Posts: 1; Member since: May 09, 2014

I wonder who will have control of said kill switch,is this another piece of legislation aimed at more control of the people.For example if your considered a extremist or believe in the constitution in the not so distant future will they just shut your phone down thus cutting off one of your forms of communication,I for one dont like this bill and I hope it does not become law too much power for government to have.

8. N-fanboy

Posts: 543; Member since: Jan 12, 2013

hackers gonna love this

9. B_Newsome

Posts: 6; Member since: May 09, 2014

Anyone else worried on how this can be used by the government to mass brick phones. They already pay the big carriers money to deliver data on us. I have a big feeling this will come back and hurt us all, and all i mean us citizens.

11. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Their concern is that we the people use phones to organize ourselves in mass protests against the government like in Oakland and Albuquerque. If only they had a remote kill switch then...

10. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." (Groucho Marx)

12. rfrapp

Posts: 77; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

California is a state full of idiots.

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