Menu
Smartphone kill-switch bill passes California assembly

Smartphone kill-switch bill passes California assembly

The bill is intended to reduce smartphone theft in the state

A bill requiring that all smartphones sold in California contain a "kill-switch" that allows users to disable them if stolen was approved by the California Assembly on Thursday morning.

The bill had previously been approved by the state's senate although it will have to return for a vote on amendments made by the assembly. If those are approved, it will pass into law once signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

The California bill mandates that all smartphones contain software that will allow the user to remotely wipe the phone of personal data and lock it so it cannot be used unless an unlocking code is entered. The software will need to be resistant to attempts to replace the phone's operating system, be enabled by default but with the possibility of being disabled by consumers, and be on all phones manufactured after July 1, 2015, and sold in the state.

One of the amendments made to the bill in the assembly allows for phones that were introduced prior to 2015 "that cannot reasonably be reengineered" to continue to be sold past July 1, 2015.

Proponents of the bill say that it will reduce smartphone theft because thieves are much less likely to steal phones if the handsets quickly become unusable.

"We are on the verge of implementing regulations that will have tremendous benefits to public safety," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who has been one of the leading forces behind the bill. "We are on the eve of securing wireless consumers everywhere from the violent threat of theft."

The California bill would be the second state law in the country mandating a kill switch. The first was passed in Minnesota in May. There are also two bills in the U.S. Congress that are similarly seeking a mandated kill switch.

The wireless industry had initially objected to the law saying it would make smartphones more vulnerable to hackers, but earlier this year reversed its stance and began supporting the kill switch.

To date, only Apple has implemented a kill switch in its phones but Google and Microsoft have both committed to adding one to upcoming updates to their respective smartphone operating systems.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CriminalAppleconsumer electronicsGoogleMicrosoftsmartphoneslegal

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments