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February 11th, 2014 at 12:07 pm

California proposes ‘kill switches’ on mobile phones

mobile device

California could be the first state to mandate a way for consumers to disable lost or stolen mobile phones.

Legislators in California are expected to outline a proposal requiring mobile devices sold in the state to come equipped with “kill switches” that would disable them if stolen or lost, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

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State Sen. Mark Leno, a Democrat in San Francisco, has garnered the support of San Francisco district attorney George Gascon, who said more than half of the robberies in the city involve mobile devices. “The wireless industry must take action to end the victimization of its customers,” Gascon said in a statement.

If the legislation is passed, it would make California the first state to require manufacturers to create a way to render smartphones and tablets inoperable. In December, New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman sent letters to the CEOs of five major wireless carriers asking why they had not supported the idea of loading a kill-switch option on mobile devices. The CTIA, a trade group for the wireless industry, has said that a kill switch could make devices vulnerable to hackers who could use it to lock users out of their phones.

Photo credit: South China Morning Post

Via Fast Company

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