California Bill to Require Antitheft Technology for Smartphones
According to a report from The New York Times
, California State Senator Mark Leno is introducing a bill that would require all cellular phones sold in the state to include antitheft technology. This measure is being introduced as a way to curb smartphone thefts, which appear to be on the rise in major metropolitan areas such as San Francisco and New York City. Senator Leno said the following in a statement regarding the matter:
With robberies of smartphones reaching an all-time high, California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available. 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, the kill switch requirement could potentially go into effect as soon as January 1, 2015 if passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. It should be noted that Apple won’t likely 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. The following was mentioned regarding the matter:
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.
For those of you who didn’t know, both Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman expressed interest in the Activation Lock feature 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.” The cellular industry trade group, the CTIA, will likely oppose the bill and its terms that require a $2,500 fine for every phone sold without antitheft technology. The group has been arguing against kill switches and offers 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.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes of the whole ordeal.
Source: CBS News
, The New York Times