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Fri Feb 7, 2014, 08:59 AM

 

California bill proposes mandatory kill-switch on phones and tablets

http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobile-technology/california-bill-proposes-mandatory-kill-switch-phones-and-tablets-235912
Politicians and law enforcement officials in California will introduce a bill on Friday that requires all smartphones and tablet PCs sold in the state be equipped with a digital "kill-switch" that would make the devices useless if stolen.

The bill is a response to a rise in thefts of portable electronics devices, often at knife or gunpoint, being seen across the state. Already half of all robberies in San Francisco and 75 percent of those in Oakland involve a mobile device and the number is rising in Los Angeles, according to police figures.

California Senate bill 962 says all smartphones and tablet PCs sold from Jan. 1, 2015, should have "a technological solution that can render the essential features of the device inoperable when the device is not in possession of the rightful owner."

It will have to be resistant to a hard reset, attempts to return the device to factory condition or a downgrade of the operating system. Users should have the option of deactivating it if they don't want the protection, but retailers will be banned from offering such a service.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply California bill proposes mandatory kill-switch on phones and tablets (Original post)
antiquie Feb 2014 OP
htuttle Feb 2014 #1
Scuba Feb 2014 #2
antiquie Feb 2014 #3
Sirveri Feb 2014 #4
pothos Feb 2014 #5
antiquie Feb 2014 #6

Response to antiquie (Original post)

Fri Feb 7, 2014, 09:08 AM

1. Kind of pointless

There are half a dozen free options to handle remote wiping for both iPhones and Android devices. Not to mention that a simple call to the wireless provider to report the device stolen is all it takes to get the service disconnected.

The problem is that people don't do this. That won't change if the wiping ability is built right in.

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Response to antiquie (Original post)

Fri Feb 7, 2014, 09:09 AM

2. Good idea. Also, how about a kill-switch if the device is moving more than five MPH???

 

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Response to Scuba (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 7, 2014, 09:27 AM

3. >5mph

 

Great idea.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 7, 2014, 07:21 PM

4. So I can't use my phone on BART or the bus?

I get your concern, but think about the other consequences.

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Response to antiquie (Original post)

Sun Feb 9, 2014, 03:31 AM

5. this will be good for cutting off communication during protests.

i can't believe this is being considered at the state level. who's going to be in charge of flipping the switch next time there's a protest? don't think it could happen? BART did this exact thing two years ago:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/08/barts-cell-phone-shutdown-one-year-later

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Response to pothos (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 9, 2014, 08:20 AM

6. Two different things.

 

I'm not saying the individual remote kill switch can't be used nefariously by law enforcement (I don't know either way), just that this not what the BART shutdown was.

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