Feeds

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

Senate greenlights bill to mandate remote-brick features

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves
Big Content could get the right to order ISPs to stop traffic
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.