Feeds

California takes a shot at mobile 'killswitch' mandate

Law would force vendors to offer remote bricking

Security for virtualized datacentres

Lawmakers in California have introduced a bill that would force vendors to equip all mobile phones and tablets in the state with a remote-wipe tool.

Senate Bill 962 would mandate that all handsets and tablets sold in California be pre-equipped with a "killswitch" option that would allow an owner or law enforcement to render a device inoperable if stolen or lost.

Co-authored by state senator Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, the bill is aimed at reducing thefts and robberies of devices. With the threat of a device being remotely bricked, the lawmakers believe that criminals will be dissuaded from targeting mobile users.

"With robberies of smartphones reaching an all-time high, California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available," said Leno.

"Today we are officially stepping in and requiring the cell phone industry to take the necessary steps to curb violent smartphone thefts and protect the safety of the very consumers they rely upon to support their businesses."

Bill 962 is not the first attempt by lawmakers to mandate killswitch technologies. Last year, officials lobbied for the implementation of remote wipe and brick tools as default, but found that in many cases the vendors themselves objected.

Leno and Gascón acknowledged the incentive for vendors to oppose the measure. Under the proposed California law, consumers would be given the option to disable the killswitch, but provisions in the law would seek to prevent carriers from encouraging users to do so.

"This legislation will require the industry to stop debating the possibility of implementing existing technological theft solutions, and begin embracing the inevitability," said Gascon.

"The wireless industry must take action to end the victimization of its customers." ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.