Smartphone kill switch is now the law in California

Smartphone kill switch is now the law in California
Culminating what was a very strange drama in the mobile technology industry, the governor of California, Jerry Brown, has signed legislation which will require all cell phones manufactured after July 1, 2015 to have a “kill switch,” which, with proper authorization, is intended to render the device useless.  While the law is limited only to California, no one expects the manufacturers will make a separate batch of compliant devices just for that market.  Whatever technology is developed to be in compliance with the new law, it will at least reside on the equipment whether it sold in California, across the United States, or in other markets around the world.

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.

source: CITEWorld



1. zig8100

Posts: 243; Member since: Dec 13, 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: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Like they'll know your IMEI just from looking at you or your phone...

5. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 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

15. Kreft

Posts: 84; Member since: Dec 27, 2012

You're an idiot. Go buy some more tinfoil.

3. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012


8. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 California Edition

4. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2266; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

lol well good thing i no llive there..

6. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

You might have missed the point... the technology will get to your phone! No matter where you live.

9. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

I would want that

7. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 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: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 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 unregistered

So now apple fanboyz will not be able to capture thugs beating up police officers with a stolen phone?

12. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 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: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Ferguson, MO PD is pining to have access to such a switch... along with N. Korea, Cuba, Syria, etc.

14. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 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: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Can't a thief just turn on Airplane Mode, and ta-da, no more kill switch to worry about?...

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