Californians can now look forward to a reduction in smartphone-related theft. On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation mandating that all smartphones sold in the state must be equipped with a ‘kill switch’ to render the device inoperable. This new law will apply to all smartphones sold in California starting at the beginning of July 2015.
The bill was originally started by San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascón. Theft of smartphones have been on a sharp rise as a portion of robberies over the past few years. Recently reported figures from Sacramento’s local News & Review point to physical violence and brandished weapons during these crimes.
Considering that smartphones can be quite expensive and more commonly held than cash, it’s the go-to target for thieves looking to profit on black-market sales.
The California mandate not only requires new smartphones to have a kill switch, but manufacturers must also notify consumers that this technology is available. Earlier this year, the legislation was shot down for fear of impacting businesses. Manufacturers and wireless carriers had pushed back against the requirement for remote deactivation on smartphones.
State Senator Mark Leno fired back at them, claiming that such theft only supports the business model of companies profiting from the sales of phone-theft insurance. A shift in stance by the CTIA helped to grease the wheels in order to, eventually, pass this bill into law.