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

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments