CA Bill Requires Antitheft Technology in Smartphones

California State Senator Mark Leno is introducing a bill that would require all cellular phones sold in the state to include antitheft technology, reports The New York Times. This measure is being introduced as a way to curb smartphone thefts, which are on the rise in major metropolitan areas like San Francisco and New York City.

"With robberies of smartphones reaching an all-time high, California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available," Senator Leno said in a statement. "Today we are officially stepping in and requiring the cellphone 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."

Co-sponsored by San Francisco’s district attorney George Gascón, this kill switch requirement could go into effect as soon as January 1, 2015, if passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

ios7_activation_lock
Apple likely won't be affected by the bill as it introduced its own antitheft technology with iOS 7's Activation Lock feature. This feature locks the device to the user's iCloud account and is automatically turned on when Find My iPhone is enabled. Thieves are prevented from turning off Find My iPhone, signing out of iCloud or wiping the device without supplying the original account credentials. This feature appears to meet the antitheft requirements of Leno's bill.

Any advanced mobile communications device that is sold in California on or after January 1, 2015, shall include a technological solution that can render the essential features of the device inoperable when the device is not in the possession of the rightful owner. A technological solution may consist of software, hardware, or a combination of both software and hardware, but shall be able to withstand a hard reset. No advanced mobile communications device may be sold in California without the technological solution enabled.

Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman expressed interested in Activation Lock when it was introduced at WWDC 2013. After reviewing the technology, Gascón and Schneiderman were impressed with the feature, praising Apple for taking "an important first step towards ending the global epidemic of smartphone theft."

Cellular industry trade group CTIA will likely oppose the bill and its terms that require a $2500 fine for every phone sold without antitheft technology. The group has argued against kill switches and offered a nationwide database of stolen phones as an alternative. Law enforcement officials, however, claim the US-based blacklist is ineffective as many stolen phones are sold overseas.

Top Rated Comments

Z400Racer37 Avatar
108 months ago
This is a perfect example of the government jumping in front of a parade and pretending to lead it. The FREE MARKET was taking care of this problem JUST FINE. Thank goodness they were there to waste all that money though. They must really care.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Smartass Avatar
108 months ago
The FREE MARKET was taking care of this problem JUST FINE. Thank goodness they were there to waste all that money though. They must really care.
No they werent.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThisIsNotMe Avatar
108 months ago
Heaven forbid people have personal responsibility.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
phillipduran Avatar
108 months ago
The logic here is that failure to install this technology is costing the State money, therefore the State has the authority to require it. It's the same logic that allows the government to set safety standards for cars.
And that is exactly how tyranny gets justified. That is how rights get trampled. That is how control is seized. They have to pay therefore it becomes their bushiness and they have a right to demand compliance.

Look how cigarettes have been beaten up because of the associated health costs. With this logic, what stops the government from doing whatever it wants? Tax or over regulate anything out of existence. Who in the world needs the rule of law when you wield that kind of power?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
herr_neumann Avatar
108 months ago
Why address the underlying causes of crime when you can propose a politically expedient bill instead?...
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Doctor11 Avatar
108 months ago
If I want I sell a phone that doesn't have anti theft tech. why can't I? What if I don't want to put the time and money in to that? I hope this does not become a law
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
Apple Tap to Pay iPhone

Apple Stores Rolling Out iPhone-to-iPhone Contactless Payments Starting Today

Wednesday May 25, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
Apple in February unveiled a new "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, with no additional hardware required. Apple began testing the feature at its Apple Park Visitor Center earlier this month, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has tweeted that the feature will begin...
apple wwdc 2022

Apple Shares WWDC 2022 Schedule, Keynote to Take Place June 6 at 10:00 a.m PT

Tuesday May 24, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
Apple today confirmed that the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6, the first day of WWDC. The keynote will be an online-only event, though a select number of developers have been invited to the Apple Park campus for a viewing event. In addition to confirming the keynote date and time, Apple has shared the full WWDC 2022...