The California kill switch bill is a bill that requires all smartphones that have been manufactured after July 1, 2015 to include anti-theft measures if they are to be sold in the state of California.
The bill was first introduced back in February earlier this year and the bill has been signed into a law starting today. It was California governor Jerry Brown who signed the bill. The main point of the new law is to make smart phones a less attractive target for thieves because the built-in tools will let consumers remotely lock, disable, or even wipe out all the data on their devices if needed.
According to a report from PCWorld, since California has signed this to law, it would be quite inefficient to just produce these phones solely for California so expect the rest of the United States, if not the rest of the world, to follow suit soon.
The kill switch essentially means that, if triggered by the user (in case of things like theft), the smartphone will get locked and it effectively becomes a paperweight for the thieves as it should also be resistant to attempts to reinstall the operating system. Police will also be given the right to utilize this but only if certain conditions are met based on the existing section 7908 of the California Public Utilities Code.
There is also no hard rule about what happens to the data on the smartphone when locked or how smartphone manufacturers go about it so manufacturers are free to implement their own versions as long as they comply with the law.
Key players in the smartphone market like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all working on these features in their upcoming smartphone operating systems and Apple already has something in place though it is not yet built in their new devices.
Smartphone theft has become very prominent everywhere and this law is a take to try to curb that. Others though, will argue that the kill switch doesn?t need to be passed as a law but should come built-in smartphones that get released as there could be times when the government uses this authority to remotely wipe or tamper with data similar to the NSA issues.
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