The smartphone “kill switch” bill just passed the California State Senate with an overwhelming majority 27-8. If signed into law, the bill will require smartphone manufacturers to install kill switches in all smartphones.
The “kill switch” is a function of the smartphone that completely shuts down the phone if it is lost or stolen, thus protecting user data and privacy. The bill only applies to smartphone models introduced after Jan. 1, 2015, and will require smartphone manufacturers to install the switch by July 1, 2015.
More than half of all San Francisco robberies in 2012 were smartphone thefts, which is what prompted State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to introduce the kill switch bill. CNBC also reported that about a third of street crimes in major cities are related to smartphone theft, according to CNBC.
“Our goal is to swiftly take the wind out of the sails of thieves who have made the theft of smartphones one of the most prevalent street crimes in California’s big cities,” Leno told CNBC.
Engadget says the kill switch bill isn’t going to cause too much of a stir because smartphone manufacturers like Apple, Google, Microsoft, HTC and Samsung have already agreed to start installing kill switches in smartphones.
The only downside to the kill switch is that once it is activated, it completely and totally kills your phone, rendering it permanently useless to the thief and the user. But hey, at least your data is safe, even if it’s lost forever in cyberspace.