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.

ios7_activation_lock
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.

Top Rated Comments

Z400Racer37 Avatar
131 months ago
NOOOOOOOOO NOW WHAT WILL I DO TO MAKE SURE MY PHONE DOESNT GET STOLENNNNNN??????

Oh, wait. Activation Lock was already in iOS 7? So innovation occurs without the involvement of government bureaucrats??? Who knew?:rolleyes:
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cuda12 Avatar
131 months ago
A law so stupid not even the California legislature would pass it.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrsir2009 Avatar
131 months ago
If their customers want it, companies will do it on their own without being forced to. And if company doesn't implement it, then customers are free to leave for the competition.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
acslater017 Avatar
131 months ago
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.
What use is hardware if it can't be used beyond a movie prop? At least in San Francisco, the market is for quickly flipping a device and selling it for a few bucks. From now on, anyone involved in the iPhone black market is a sucker if they purchase an iPhone without checking its functionality. Now if they want to make money, they have to take it to someone who knows what to do with camera modules, flash chips, etc.?

Am I missing something, or doesn't this still seriously deflate the incentive to steal an iPhone? Even if not 100% of users enable it, I feel like it would be a "poison pill" type deal where it seriously complicates a thieve's job.

1) Fewer thefts will be profitable 2) Transactions will take longer and involve greater contact between buyers/sellers 3) The market shifts from selling whole phones to components 4) Overall risk/reward ratio goes way down.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SnarkyBear Avatar
131 months ago
A little uneasy with the kill switch concept

I don't know if I want a 'Kill Switch' available in the phones. I am not normally paranoid, but it seems like something governments would use against their people. I imagine that the Arab Spring a few years ago, which relied heavily on phones to tweet, Facebook, and text each other, might have had different results if their oppressive leaders could convince the phone companies to "kill" the phones of suspected protestors.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
proline Avatar
131 months ago
If their customers want it, companies will do it on their own without being forced to. And if company doesn't implement it, then customers are free to leave for the competition.
Indeed. Pressure from customers as well as the PR effects of public shaming from various individuals and police forces would have led to this type of feature without government intervention making said intervention a redundant waste of money. Meanwhile governments sit by silently on issues where they actually could make a difference, such as net neutrality. People need to learn the proper place for government intervention.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 15 Pro FineWoven

Apple Reportedly Stops Production of FineWoven Accessories

Sunday April 21, 2024 6:03 am PDT by
Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories, according to the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as "Kosutami." In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Kosutami explained that Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories due to its poor durability. The company may move to another non-leather material for its premium accessories in the future. Kosutami has revealed...
Provenance Emulator

PlayStation and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store [Updated]

Friday April 19, 2024 8:29 am PDT by
The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, GameCube, Wii,...
iOS 17 All New Features Thumb

iOS 17.5 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Sunday April 21, 2024 3:00 am PDT by
The upcoming iOS 17.5 update for the iPhone includes only a few new user-facing features, but hidden code changes reveal some additional possibilities. Below, we have recapped everything new in the iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 beta so far. Web Distribution Starting with the second beta of iOS 17.5, eligible developers are able to distribute their iOS apps to iPhone users located in the EU...
apple vision pro orange

Apple Vision Pro Customer Interest Dying Down at Some Retail Stores

Monday April 22, 2024 2:12 am PDT by
Apple Vision Pro, Apple's $3,500 spatial computing device, appears to be following a pattern familiar to the AR/VR headset industry – initial enthusiasm giving way to a significant dip in sustained interest and usage. Since its debut in the U.S. in February 2024, excitement for the Apple Vision Pro has noticeably cooled, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On...
top stories 20apr2024

Top Stories: Nintendo Emulators on App Store, Two New iOS 17 Features, and More

Saturday April 20, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
It was a big week for retro gaming fans, as iPhone users are starting to reap the rewards of Apple's recent change to allow retro game emulators on the App Store. This week also saw a new iOS 17.5 beta that will support web-based app distribution in the EU, the debut of the first hotels to allow for direct AirPlay streaming to room TVs, a fresh rumor about the impending iPad Air update, and...