Earlier this year a bill was proposed in California that would require smartphone manufacturers to include kill switch functionality in all their phones. Unfortunately the bill failed to pass, although it has since been amended to placate those who were opposed and has since been passed by the California senate.
The author of the legislation, San Francisco’s Democrat Mark Leno, amended the bill so that it would exclude tablets and extended the deadline to allow manufacturers to sell off existing units before the new models with the kill switches were introduced. The bill will apply to all smartphones sold in California starting from July 2015.
As it stands the majority of smartphone OEMs, at least the big name players, have already volunteered to participate in a program that would see them introduce kill switches in their products. What this means is that even if the bill had failed to pass, again, these companies would already be providing countermeasures in their devices.
For those hearing about this for the first time, the reason why lawmakers are pushing for the kill switch is because they believe that if a phone can be remotely disabled, it would put off smartphone thieves who would be unable to sell the device. At the same time this also raises another issue of warrantless searches, where some argue that because of kill switches, warrantless searches should be allowed on suspects, lest they or their associates attempt to wipe the phone of any evidence.
What do you guys think about this new bill so far? Do you think that it will contribute to a decline in smartphone theft? Or do you think that thieves will eventually figure out a way to bypass such security measures?