California Rejects 'Kill Switch' Requirement Legislation for Smartphones
California legislators narrowly rejected a bill that would require smartphone manufacturers like Apple to preload and automatically enable antitheft "kill switch" in their phones, according to CNET. The law was backed by California State Senator Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.
Failing to reach a minimum of 21 votes in favor, the final tally was 19 yes's to 17 no's, with one senator not voting. Leno told CNET that he plans to take the bill up again next week. "The game is not yet over," he said.
Gascon accused opposition of the bill of protecting the interest of the "billion dollar industry profits" of the wireless industry and their insurance partners. Though some critics of the plan note that wiping software and locking phones would be ineffectual as thieves are likely to sell the device's hardware components.
The law was unlikely to affect Apple much, as the company introduced its own antitheft technology with iOS 7's Activation Lock feature, which locks a device to a user's iCloud account and is automatically turned on when Find My iPhone is enabled. However, Apple would likely have to make Find My iPhone mandatory to meet the requirements of Leno's bill.
Activation Lock won cautious optimism from both Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman when it was announced at 2013's WWDC.
The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act, a federal bill that would also mandate the inclusion of a "kill switch" in smartphones, has been introduced at the national level.