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California governor signs 'kill switch' bill into law, required on all smartphones by 2015

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law a bill requiring smartphone manufacturers provide a remote "kill switch" for handsets sold within the state.

Activation LockScreenshot of Apple's Activation Lock feature. | Source: Apple


After being passed by the California Senate two weeks ago, the new kill switch measure calls on smartphone makers to offer a remote disablement function that activates upon initial device setup. The law is set to take effect by July 2015.

Introduced by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) in February, the kill switch initiative looks to thwart a growing smartphone theft "epidemic" by building in security features that allow users to remotely disable their device when stolen or lost. Other states have forwarded similar legislation, though California is the first to place responsibility on manufacturers.

Apple's iPhone will be one of the many products affected by the new law, though the company already incorporates a remote locking mechanism in iOS with Find My iPhone. The system relies on an app connected to Apple's iCloud service, which when enabled lets users remotely track, lock, disable and wipe an iOS device. Further, Activation Lock prevents thieves from working around Find My iPhone's protocols by requiring credentials before signing out of iCloud or performing a device reset.

On the federal level, a proposed Smartphone Theft Prevention Act was introduced to Congress in February and would require all cellphones sold in the U.S. to be equipped with a free-to-use kill switch mechanism.

The cellphone industry is also proposing its own measures like the CTIA's "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment," which Apple signed on to in April. Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and all five major U.S. cellular providers have pledged support for the initiative.
post #2 of 41

Looks like all future mobile phones will be designed by a committee of politicians and bureaucrats. They will all be the same, with the same features, same ports, same memory. Innovation by regulation!

post #3 of 41
I wonder what will happen to all the $50 crappy 'smartphones'. They might get re-classified as feature phones so they don't have to work on implementing this feature! 1smile.gif
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post #4 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabuga View Post

I wonder what will happen to all the $50 crappy 'smartphones'. They might get re-classified as feature phones so they don't have to work on implementing this feature! 

That would be interesting. All the phones in "Other" would suddenly disappear and most of Samsung's phones would go with them making Apple the leader by a large margin in real smartphones. I can't wait to see how much complaining Google will do when they're forced to provide a kill-switch by all the manufacturers using Android. Google will say it's not their responsibility, it's the manufacturer's but I'm hopeful the courts will see through that one. I also wonder what the courts will do about deciding which phones have to comply. Apple already complies, they just have to remove the ability to no set up the Activation Feature and they should be in compliance.

post #5 of 41
Deleted by poster.  Move along.
post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabuga View Post

I wonder what will happen to all the $50 crappy 'smartphones'. They might get re-classified as feature phones so they don't have to work on implementing this feature! 1smile.gif

 

Looks as if the headline suggests that the law would only apply to 'smartphones', not all mobile phones.

post #7 of 41
Where are all the "Let the free market decide" jack-offs/Comcast shareholders?
post #8 of 41
So what happens when hackers find a way to remotely kill your phone?? And they will.....Great idea!!
post #9 of 41
The law enforcement government people want to be able to kill your phone at their whim.
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post
 

Looks like all future mobile phones will be designed by a committee of politicians and bureaucrats. They will all be the same, with the same features, same ports, same memory. Innovation by regulation!

I doubt it. This is a public safety issue. Apple is already a pioneer in this area. It is a good thing to make stolen phones less valuable as it helps prevent attacks on citizens and might even save lives. It is a small feature in phones that can make a big difference. I view it much like needing to mandate seat belts in cars, just because it make sense. Many phone manufacturers will not be able to easily implement this feature so overall, it is good for Apple.

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post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danox View Post

The law enforcement government people want to be able to kill your phone at their whim.

They can already easily do that by forcing the carrier to disable your sim with a court order, however, that would seldom be in their best interest. If they suspected you of some crime, they would want to wiretap you not shut off your phone.. That is not the motivation that is behind this legislation. 

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post #12 of 41

California to cell phone manufacturers:

"I would like 1 cell phone with remote disablement, please."

Cell phone manufacturers to California:

"NO CELL PHONE FOR YOU! Come back one year!"
post #13 of 41
I can't even begin to express the insanity that this is. But then again, we live in a completely insane world in an insane time.

Somehow I manage to use technology every day and yet DON'T have my head firmly up my ass. Imagine that? Its possible.

The very next governor can step in and completely nix this entire thing with one stroke. Hopefully that happens.
post #14 of 41
This is really bad for Gazelle hahahah
post #15 of 41

for the last 15 years cable and satellite television has had kill switches in their receivers to fight signal piracy. yet i haven't really read any threads anywhere about people complaining about privacy issues, or fears of hacking, or any other concerns. if there ever was a hack for dish network's receiver-killer ECM, Dish Network would have to file for bankruptcy. they would have to go out of business. i do not think they have the money to cross ship 18 million satellite receivers. the rule of thumb was that direct tv kills the access card, and dish network kills the actual receiver.

one time people thought that the Microsoft made Dishplayer 7200s were immunte to the Receiver killing Ecm. They were mistaken. every single dish player 7200 that was caught stealing the signal was pretty much destroyed.

 

if people are going to complain about kill switches in smart phones, they should be made aware of all the other devices we have that we use every day that have kill switches in them and that we do not even know about

 

I've read several posts from people who do not want to own a smart phone with a built in kill switch because of fear. but i have yet to read a post about someone who refuses to pay for cable television because of the kill switches in his cable descrambler.

 

edit 

i forgot. we had a VideoCipher ][ back in 88. we used to watch galaxy 1 and westar 5. i vaguely remember the VideoCipher ][ had back doors in it to. so it was like 30 years.


Edited by rigorkrad - 8/25/14 at 10:29pm
post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

They can already easily do that by forcing the carrier to disable your sim with a court order, however, that would seldom be in their best interest. If they suspected you of some crime, they would want to wiretap you not shut off your phone.. That is not the motivation that is behind this legislation. 

 

I'm genuinely surprised he didn't know that.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Truffol View Post

This is really bad for Gazelle hahahah

 

That would only be true if they pay out in advance. At least in California they would be legally required to hold the item for something like 14 days in case it's reported stolen. Shops do that with used goods all the time. Where you should be concerned is if you intend to buy a used one off craigslist. If it's stolen, the owner may brick the device.

post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post
 

That would only be true if they pay out in advance. At least in California they would be legally required to hold the item for something like 14 days in case it's reported stolen. Shops do that with used goods all the time. Where you should be concerned is if you intend to buy a used one off craigslist. If it's stolen, the owner may brick the device.

Maybe they should pass a law that requires eBay/Craigslist and such that the money used to make a purchase first gets put into escrow.

And the seller has to file an affidavit and post a bond equal to 3 times the price of the sale.

Then 30 days after the buyer gets the device AND the buyer signs off on the purchase, everything gets released.

post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

I'm genuinely surprised he didn't know that.


That would only be true if they pay out in advance. At least in California they would be legally required to hold the item for something like 14 days in case it's reported stolen. Shops do that with used goods all the time. Where you should be concerned is if you intend to buy a used one off craigslist. If it's stolen, the owner may brick the device.
It's better for buying off Craigslist. Just make sure Find My iPhone is turned off. Better yet, have the seller turn it off (which requires your Apple ID password).

Even better, if it's already off, then turn it on (which doesn't require a password). THEN ask the seller to turn it off. If they can't, then you just bricked the phone that a crook tried to sell you.
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post
 

Maybe they should pass a law that requires eBay/Craigslist and such that the money used to make a purchase first gets put into escrow.

And the seller has to file an affidavit and post a bond equal to 3 times the price of the sale.

Then 30 days after the buyer gets the device AND the buyer signs off on the purchase, everything gets released.

I can tell sarcasm, and it made me laugh. I was referring to regulations on brick and mortar shops. They aren't required to do extensive searching, but they are required to hold the item for however many days in case a police report is filed during that time.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post


It's better for buying off Craigslist. Just make sure Find My iPhone is turned off. Better yet, have the seller turn it off (which requires your Apple ID password).

Even better, if it's already off, then turn it on (which doesn't require a password). THEN ask the seller to turn it off. If they can't, then you just bricked the phone that a crook tried to sell you.

 

I will do that if I ever buy one off Craigslist. It's an excellent precaution.

post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

That would be interesting. All the phones in "Other" would suddenly disappear and most of Samsung's phones would go with them making Apple the leader by a large margin in real smartphones. I can't wait to see how much complaining Google will do when they're forced to provide a kill-switch by all the manufacturers using Android. Google will say it's not their responsibility, it's the manufacturer's but I'm hopeful the courts will see through that one. I also wonder what the courts will do about deciding which phones have to comply. Apple already complies, they just have to remove the ability to no set up the Activation Feature and they should be in compliance.

Google will likely leave it out of android, and repackage it as part of play services. Android being open source makes it a hurdle. You can't write an anti theft program only to give the code away.
post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Even better, if it's already off, then turn it on (which doesn't require a password). THEN ask the seller to turn it off. If they can't, then you just bricked the phone that a crook tried to sell you.

Ha! That is clever indeed. I'll turn it on myself, and then asks them to turn it off lol.
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post #22 of 41
Too many lawyers in governments today. This particular feature should be a selling point for a phone, nota governmntal mandate. It just raises the average price of all phones.
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post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by MedTech View Post

So what happens when hackers find a way to remotely kill your phone?? And they will.....Great idea!!

That's the concern I'd have. It's the smartphone manufacturers that have to implement and manage this and if someone compromises their system, they can potentially lock hundreds of millions of devices, which could easily cause a few deaths. There was a scenario showing how devastating remote controls can be:

http://www.wired.com/2012/08/apple-amazon-mat-honan-hacking/all/

They even managed to remote wipe his Mac, which lost a year of data including all the photos of his newborn daughter, which he can't get back again.

Still, something needs to be done to help stop smartphone thefts.



There was a time when car radios were stolen a lot and their drop in value took away the point in stealing them. If smartphones break as soon as they are stolen, there's less point in stealing them except for parts. The people implementing the measures have to be extra careful with how they do it though.
post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Truffol View Post

This is really bad for Gazelle hahahah

 

I notice that the Gazelle story keeps getting bumped up. It looks like AI is getting paid for it. I don't have a problem with that. However, it would have been better if they mentioned that it was an ad, rather than a 'feature'.

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by rigorkrad View Post
 

for the last 15 years cable and satellite television has had kill switches in their receivers to fight signal piracy. yet i haven't really read any threads anywhere about people complaining about privacy issues, or fears of hacking, or any other concerns. if there ever was a hack for dish network's receiver-killer ECM, Dish Network would have to file for bankruptcy. they would have to go out of business. i do not think they have the money to cross ship 18 million satellite receivers. the rule of thumb was that direct tv kills the access card, and dish network kills the actual receiver.

one time people thought that the Microsoft made Dishplayer 7200s were immunte to the Receiver killing Ecm. They were mistaken. every single dish player 7200 that was caught stealing the signal was pretty much destroyed.

 

if people are going to complain about kill switches in smart phones, they should be made aware of all the other devices we have that we use every day that have kill switches in them and that we do not even know about

 

I've read several posts from people who do not want to own a smart phone with a built in kill switch because of fear. but i have yet to read a post about someone who refuses to pay for cable television because of the kill switches in his cable descrambler.

 

edit 

i forgot. we had a VideoCipher ][ back in 88. we used to watch galaxy 1 and westar 5. i vaguely remember the VideoCipher ][ had back doors in it to. so it was like 30 years.

 

First, what the cable boxes do is not the same as what they are talking about with a cellphone. The cable companies came up with the ideal which BTW is not used any more that do things via software encryption which current had not been hacked. The cable and Satellite guys did it to stop people from steeling the signal so they periodically would send out a kill signal which would disable units which were not officially authorize on the network causing the user to spend time and effort to hack the authorizations again.

 

In the cable companies situation they were protecting their revenue stream and they own the end to end solution. In the Cell phone space you have the government put rules in place on how a product should work, it is being the Nanny Government, they supposedly helping to reduce crime since the Big bad Cell phone companies create a product which attracts people to steal your phone. In reality they just protecting the stupid from themselves. However, if you think government is just doing this to be a good neighbor think again. The laws are written such that the government is deemed necessary could kill your phone as well, it about terrorism you know.

post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by MedTech View Post

So what happens when hackers find a way to remotely kill your phone?? And they will.....Great idea!!

Just look at what is happening in the PC world, because of all the remote backdoor management feature Microsoft put into their software and remote kill is just another remote management feature. Today you have hacker locking down people's PC and blacking mailing them into paying to unlock your computer otherwise they wipe is clean. Image what will happen in the android world all thanks the Calif and other government's need to protect the stupid from themselves, they created a far worse problem.

 

There is a great saying and I wish I knew who originally said it. If you think you have problems not or you life is a mess, wait and see the solution the government comes up with, you will wish the stayed out of your problem.

post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Entropys View Post

Too many lawyers in governments today. This particular feature should be a selling point for a phone, nota governmntal mandate. It just raises the average price of all phones.

 

Surprise, surprise, politicians once again conning the public on the false illusion of safety.  The party serfs will now sleep easier with their betters working tirelessly to protect them now from something somewhere somehow.  

 

Idiots will fling their money and support at anything in the name of fear.  Now that phone theft is super special, double outlawed, those wily outlaws will nary again thieve from thine good peasantry.  So sayeth the ruling class onto thee and hallelujah be thine word.

post #28 of 41

If this bill actually requires this for smartphones, then I am wondering what all of the next batch of phones will be called. Because, I am guessing that within a year nobody in the world will be making smartphones.

 

Perhaps, ultra mobile cellular computers? Sorry, California, we got out of the smartphone business.

 

As long as a smartphone can be parted out then there will still be a theft problem. Someone mentioned car radio thefts. Thieves moved from stealing the cars to stealing the radios because it was easier and they could still make some money. Does anyone think that a locked phone is going to keep the thieves from making some sort of chop shop where phones are stolen and the screens are removed to be sold while the rest of the phone is trashed? It is still a profit for the thief.

post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post
 

Looks like all future mobile phones will be designed by a committee of politicians and bureaucrats. They will all be the same, with the same features, same ports, same memory. Innovation by regulation!

Grow up.  This is a consumer-friendly feature that should have been standard for a long time now.

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mknopp View Post
 

If this bill actually requires this for smartphones, then I am wondering what all of the next batch of phones will be called. Because, I am guessing that within a year nobody in the world will be making smartphones.

 

Perhaps, ultra mobile cellular computers? Sorry, California, we got out of the smartphone business.

 

As long as a smartphone can be parted out then there will still be a theft problem. Someone mentioned car radio thefts. Thieves moved from stealing the cars to stealing the radios because it was easier and they could still make some money. Does anyone think that a locked phone is going to keep the thieves from making some sort of chop shop where phones are stolen and the screens are removed to be sold while the rest of the phone is trashed? It is still a profit for the thief.

 

Telecom-enabled mini tablets?

post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

They can already easily do that by forcing the carrier to disable your sim with a court order, however, that would seldom be in their best interest. If they suspected you of some crime, they would want to wiretap you not shut off your phone.. That is not the motivation that is behind this legislation. 

 

I think DHS and NSA would love to have the ability to kill smartphones at "just the right moment".  And I bet the authorities in Ferguson, MO would have liked the option, too.  The ability to limit communication is an important component to controlling the masses.  Ask China.

 

That said, I think most US consumers will still prefer the ability to kill a stolen phone over the incremental loss of freedom.  We fritter away our freedoms for much lesser causes already.

post #32 of 41
California...
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Funny how they were conveniently recording the thief. It's either staged, or the person recording was in on it.
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post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Funny how they were conveniently recording the thief. It's either staged, or the person recording was in on it.

They wouldn't have uploaded it if they were in on it, the article here says the guy was acting suspicious:

http://gizmodo.com/5955457/this-is-how-thieves-will-snatch-your-phone-on-the-train

There are other cases where they do the same:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/12/19/police-seek-thief-who-stole-phones-ipads-from-women-on-subway/
http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120805/manhattan/video-shows-subway-riders-trapping-alleged-iphone-thief-soho

It's easy pickings when you think about it, these devices are worth as much as $650 and it's just a quick snatch, wipe it and sell it on eBay or on the street. You could make an average salary with just 1 or 2 snatches a week.
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They wouldn't have uploaded it if they were in on it, the article here says the guy was acting suspicious:

http://gizmodo.com/5955457/this-is-how-thieves-will-snatch-your-phone-on-the-train

I still have doubts. People upload much more stupid things all the time. How doesn’t the guy realize he's being recorded? Why doesn’t the person recording warn the girl? Nonetheless, it's amazing to me how oblivious people are to their surroundings.
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post #36 of 41
"the kill switch initiative looks to thwart a growing smartphone theft "epidemic""

What nonsense.

The purpose of this switch is to enable the government to close down the phones in case the peasants finally get sick of the totalitarian state raping and robbing them and move to do something about it.

I find it interesting that none of the so called journalists bothered to ask the question as to whether the state would have access to this facility.
post #37 of 41

Easy to see that guy is a thief. Horrible game face and body language. I worked retail loss prevention before college/freshman year, and you learn to recognize various behaviors just like listening to someone tell a story. 22 years later, I still see thieves frequently when I'm shopping. Most of the time I can pick out the undercover LP folks too.

post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They wouldn't have uploaded it if they were in on it, the article here says the guy was acting suspicious:

http://gizmodo.com/5955457/this-is-how-thieves-will-snatch-your-phone-on-the-train

I still have doubts. People upload much more stupid things all the time. How doesn’t the guy realize he's being recorded? Why doesn’t the person recording warn the girl? Nonetheless, it's amazing to me how oblivious people are to their surroundings.

The above site actually has a link saying the guy was arrested so it was definitely a genuine theft:

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=hu&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=hu&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fhvg.hu%2Fitthon%2F20121027_Elfogtak_a_levideozott_mobiltolvajt

I don't think the stranger filming could have warned them because you can't go around telling people that people near them look really suspicious or you'll come across like someone crazy and paranoid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilejones 
The purpose of this switch is to enable the government to close down the phones in case the peasants finally get sick of the totalitarian state raping and robbing them and move to do something about it.

These concerns always sound more plausible in light of what the government has already been doing but the first time that this power is misused, it will have a devastating effect on product sales and the government will be held accountable for it and the law would be reversed. I highly doubt that there will ever be a mass phone locking performed by the government for this reason. Companies would refuse to let the government do this to their own customers for a start.

Customers who have had phones stolen have been asking for this for years because they hate the idea of someone profiting from their loss. At least having the phone made useless is some form of justice for what they had to deal with. If it was widespread, it would reduce violent thefts. Some of the accounts in the above links say people have been beaten in order for the thief to get away with their device.
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I don't think the stranger filming could have warned them because you can't go around telling people that people near them look really suspicious or you'll come across like someone crazy and paranoid.

A "psst" with some eye motioning can say a lot. The victim would've become aware of her surroundings, and probably would have noticed the guy eye balling her.
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post #40 of 41

Sure, they can easily shut down one phone with a warrant. What about situations like Ferguson? They don't want anybody recording, they shut down everybody's cell phone without a warrant to institute their control. Sorry, not buying it, you guys are so quick to throw your rights away.

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