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Anti Theft Kill Switch bill for smartphones approved by California Senate

California on Thursday cleared a bill that would require the smartphones to be loaded with anti-theft software that are sold in the state.

State Sen. Mark Leno (IMG credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

San Francisco District attorney, George Gascon sponsored the SB962 bill which was introduced by state Sen. Mark Leno. The bill would make smartphone manufacturers like Apple and HTC to install “kill switch” technology on every phone and enable to turn on the switch every time a user buys a phone. In case of a theft the phone would be locked by the switch.

The legislation was hailed by LAPD Chief, Charlie Beck and other law enforcement officers as it was a major step in reducing violent robberies where thieves resell the robbed smartphones. The bill which previously failed the vote was passed after Leno agreed for the date in which for which the kill switch would be added, from January to July 2015 and to exclude Tablets.

Microsoft and Apple who opposed the bill also changed their stance. “I applaud Apple and Microsoft for breaking rank and dropping their opposition to SB962, ignoring the false claim that the technology is unworkable,” said Leno.

However senators were concerned about retailers who might get blamed if the phone meant for another state without the technology gets into California. The wireless carrier industry also opposed the bill as they claim that the smartphones will be vulnerable to hacking by use of the technology.

Leading device makers like Apple added ‘activation lock’ which would require a user id and password before the stolen iPhones location can be turned off and Samsung launched ‘reactivation lock’ which makes phone inoperable even after a factory reset.

About Bhanu Jamwal

Living in Aldine, TX, he writes about Mac, iOS, Android and IT Hardware. Apart from writing on The Next Digit, he is also an expert in providing valuable seminars on IT Peripherals and IT Security. All posts by Bhanu

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