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California Officially Signs Smartphone Kill Switch Into Law

by Brandon Russell | August 26, 2014August 26, 2014 6:15 pm PST

smartphone-theft

From now on, every smartphone sold in California is required to include software that is capable of remotely disabling the device. Otherwise known as a “kill switch,” the new law is designed to deter thieves from targeting smartphone owners—a problem that has been on the rise for the past few years.

The kill switch bill has been talked about for months now, and was officially introduced by State Senator Mark Leno back in February. Many mobile companies, such as Apple, have worked closely with these lawmakers to come up with their own solutions, but now the bill has been signed into law by California governor Jerry Brown. As of July 1, 2015, all devices sold will need to include some sort of software, otherwise companies will be fined anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per device.

The issue of theft has become particularly bad over the past few years in cities like San Francisco and New York City. More people than ever own a smartphone these days, and it’s not unusual to see someone with their face hypnotized by their screen as they walk down the street. This kind of behavior has resulted in a lot of folks becoming targets for their smartphones, which is why security has become such a hot topic.

Nothing will change from a consumer perspective. There are already solutions available to consumers, and studies show that they do work, but it just means that a kill switch will be a requirement going forward. That, in turn, hopefully means thieves will think twice about stealing your device. If they do, all you have to do is flip a switch and your device is nothing more than an expensive paperweight.

California

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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