Feeds

Anti-theft mobe KILL SWITCH edges closer to reality in California

Senate greenlights bill to mandate remote-brick features

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The Golden State is one step closer to passing a law which would require mobile phone vendors to implement remote bricking capabilities in all handsets.

The California Senate has approved SB 962, the bill which mandates a "kill switch" mechanism in phones which could render stolen handsets useless and hopefully deter thieves.

The law faced opposition from mobile phone vendors, who argued against being forced to implement the feature into their devices by government mandate. The bill was first presented in February and was initially voted down, but has since been amended with endorsements from Apple and Microsoft.

San Francisco representative Mark Leno, who authored the SB 962 legislation, applauded the companies for changing their stance on the law and working to make the measures more palatable to vendors.

"The theft and robbery of smartphones is the fastest growing crime in many cities across California because thieves have a financial incentive to steal and then resell these valuable devices on the black market,” Leno said in a statement following passage of the bill.

"We can end this crime of convenience and protect the safety of smartphone consumers by ensuring that every new phone sold in our state has theft-deterrent technology installed and enabled by default. Nothing less will solve the problem.”

The bill will now be passed to the state Assembly for approval and, should it be passed, would then reach Governor Jerry Brown to either be signed into law or vetoed.

Should a measure pass in California, the effects could be felt throughout the industry. As the most populous state in the US and the world's eighth largest economy, California holds significant buying power and is home to industry heavyweights Apple and Google.

A killswitch mandate in the state may well also lead to a speeding up of regional and international rollouts of anti-theft technology. US mobile industry firms have now agreed to a national kill-switch system, but not until the middle of next year.

Law enforcement groups have noted that mobile phone theft is an increasingly common crime in most cities. Even at times when all other serious crime rates are dropping, the theft of handsets and tablets has grown.

Thus far, proposed laws for killswitch implementation have been struck down by legislatures under pressure from the mobile industry, making this week's vote by the California Senate all the more significant. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
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
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
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
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.