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Cellphone Kill Switch Mandate Signed Into Law

Gov. Jerry Brown of California has signed into law senate bill 962 which mandates all manufacturers to include a ‘kill switch’ in all the cellphones that they manufacture after January 1, 2015, and this feature must also be enabled by default. Retailers in violation of this law will attract a fine ranging from $500 to $2,500 per phone sold in the state without the kill switch.

An iPhone 4S. Image obtained with thanks from Matthew Pearce on Flickr.
An iPhone 4S. Image obtained with thanks from Matthew Pearce on Flickr.

Is A Kill Switch Necessary?

Yes. According to Consumer Reports: 1.6 million Americans were victimized for their smartphones in 2012. According to the New York Times, 113 smartphones are lost or stolen every minute in the United States.

The Office of the District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco reported that more than 50 percent of all robberies in San Francisco in 2012 involved the theft of a mobile
communications device.

That drove the point home. The issue of mobile phone theft has ballooned out of control in a very horrible way. People don’t just steal them to sell parts anymore, they may even be able to get sensitive information off them such as payment details, login information, and more.

To top it off, thieves may even be able to use saved passwords to access online stores and purchase items for themselves at your expense, and finally:

Many people who handle sensitive information regularly are bound to end up with some of that information on their phones or other mobile technology such as tablets (even if it is ‘deleted’). Deleted files are not erased fully (although file shredders can do this).

Modern mobile technology is almost like a swiss army knife for thieves. It is worth a great deal of money, and it has access to everything.

How Does This Kill Switch Help To Deter Theft?

A kill switch will disable your cellphone after it is stolen, so it may not sound preventive at first. It could help to deter cellphone theft by rendering it pointless. No one wants to buy a ‘bricked’ cellphone, unless they want to sell the screen or battery.

There is an enormous market for used, functional cellphones, though, so this should still put a dent in the issue. This should also put a dent in the issue of data theft on mobile devices.

Source: The State Of California.

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