Feeds

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

Senate greenlights bill to mandate remote-brick features

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.