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

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,449member

    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!

  • Reply 2 of 43
    sabugasabuga Posts: 45member
    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! :)
  • Reply 3 of 43
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,636member
    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.

  • Reply 4 of 43
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,765member
    Deleted by poster.  Move along.
  • Reply 5 of 43
    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! image

     

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

  • Reply 6 of 43
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    Where are all the "Let the free market decide" jack-offs/Comcast shareholders?
  • Reply 7 of 43
    So when hackers find a way to remotely kill your phone........ ?? And they will.... Wonderful Idea!!
  • Reply 8 of 43
    So what happens when hackers find a way to remotely kill your phone?? And they will.....Great idea!!
  • Reply 9 of 43
    danoxdanox Posts: 599member
    The law enforcement government people want to be able to kill your phone at their whim.
  • Reply 10 of 43
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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.

  • Reply 11 of 43
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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. 

  • Reply 12 of 43
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member

    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!"


  • Reply 13 of 43
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    This is really bad for Gazelle hahahah
  • Reply 15 of 43
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    pmz wrote: »
    ^ post

    You're in the wrong thread; posts like that go here:
    http://forums.appleinsider.com/f/17/politicaloutsider
  • Reply 16 of 43

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 43

    speaking of steals, this iphone 5s is going to go fast! ---> http://bit.ly/YVUn9M

  • Reply 18 of 43
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    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.

  • Reply 19 of 43
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    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.

  • Reply 20 of 43
    hmm wrote: »
    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.
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