California Senate Passes Cellphone “Kill Switch” Bill

California Senate Passes Cellphone “Kill Switch” Bill

Monday saw the California State Senate pass a bill to aid in protecting against smartphone theft by requiring all smartphones sold in the state to have a “kill switch” turned on automatically when a phone is first activated. Apple currently includes a similar feature on its iOS devices, however it is an opt-in feature.



California’s legislative push to require so-called “kill switches” of smartphone manufacturers moved closer to becoming law, as a bill passed through the Senate with a final tally of 27-8, reports The Wall Street Journal. The state’s governor, Jerry Brown, has 12 days to sign the bill into law. 

Author of the bill, State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) believes it will help discourage the theft of smartphones. While other states have introduced similar measures, California’s law would be the only one to require manufacturers to activate the security feature by default at the time of device setup.

A federal anti-theft proposal was introduced in Congress in February. The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act would require all cellphones sold in the U.S. to include kill switch technology.

Apple already includes a remote locking system in its iOS devices, via “the “Find My iPhone” app. The service works via iCloud to locate, lock, or wipe data from an iOS device that has been lost or stolen.

Apple has also upped the ante in the device protection arena, by introducing “Activation Lock,” which requires the original Apple ID and password used to activate the device in order to turn off Find My iPhone, wipe the phone or to activate the device after it has been deactivated.