Menu
Second federal 'kill-switch' bill introduced targeting smartphone theft

Second federal 'kill-switch' bill introduced targeting smartphone theft

The bill in the House of Representatives follows similar proposals in the Senate and the California State Assembly

A second federal bill that proposes "kill-switch" technology be made mandatory in smartphones as a means to reduce theft of the devices was introduced Monday.

The kill switch would allow consumers to remotely wipe and disable a stolen smartphone and is considered by proponents to be a key tool in combating the increasing number of smartphone robberies.

The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R. 4065 by José E. Serrano, a New York Democrat, as a companion to a Senate bill that was introduced Feb. 13. The two follow a similar law proposed by officials in California last month.

Thefts of smartphones make up 30 percent of robberies in the U.S., according to supporters of the proposed laws. Many are believed to be crimes of opportunity, committed when a smartphone user is on their phone and not paying attention to their surroundings. The thefts can be violent, with the victim being beaten or threatened with a knife or gun. In a handful of cases, victims have been killed for their phones.

Law enforcement officials believe that by having a mandatory kill switch incidents of theft will fall because most phones will quickly be made useless and therefore have no or little commercial value.

Major U.S. cellphone carriers have been resisting the legislation and last year turned down a proposal by Samsung to install such technology in many of its phones.

With pressure mounting at the state and federal level, that attitude appears to be shifting. Last week, executives of Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and C Spire Wireless told a congressional hearing that they are willing to install such a system.

Under the proposed laws, only the consumer would have the ability to disable their phone.

Apple already has such a technology in devices running its iOS 7 operating system. The activation lock accomplishes all of the kill-switch features but requires the user to switch it on. The proposed law would make it the default setting and users' action would be required to switch it off.

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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphoneslegislationlegalconsumer electronicst-mobileverizonCriminalC Spire Wireless

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments