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Monday, August 25, 2014

Kill-Switch Bill Signed into Law

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 3:55 PM

California became the second state to install mandatory theft-deterring technology in all smartphones today, when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a kill-switch bill into law. 

The bill, sponsored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), faced staunch opposition from cellphone service providers and their trade association, the CTIA, which insisted it would stifle innovation and inhibit consumer choice. 

Manufacturers such as Apple initially protested the bill, too, but withdrew their opposition after Leno made various amendments to protect their current products.

The new law will only affect smartphones manufactured after January 1, 2015.
Thus, it may take a while to see the effects of mandatory kill-switches. In the meantime, there's still a robust underground market for stolen phones, many of which are fenced in San Francisco and shipped overseas. Kill-switch technology would "brick" all of this pilfered merchandise, rendering it useless.

Proponents of the technology believe that once this technology becomes more ubiquitous, thieves won't have any reason to snatch phones, anymore. 

District Attorney George Gascon, who pushed the bill alongside Leno, said in a press statement that wireless consumers "can breathe a sigh of relief," with this new legislative victory.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


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