Following the US mobile phone industry’s reluctance to mandate a device and platform agnostic “kill switch” and anti-theft solution for smartphones following last year’s pleas by California state lawmakers, the lawmakers have decided to propose legislating them into state law, with the hope of forcing a national rollout. California State Senator Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon are expected to introduce such legislation today in the California State Senate.
District Attorney Gascon previously worked with New York lawmakers and Samsung to craft such a solution last year and it was promptly shut down by both carriers and manufacturers as too onerous, with carriers and manufacturers pointing to the national stolen phone carrier blacklist as an effective measure without resorting to the perceived added expense of the kill switch/anti-theft provisions.
Both Leno and Gascon believe stronger measures are needed to deter cell phone thefts and protect consumers. Both want the law to go into effect January 1, 2015, and have proposed penalties of $2,500 for each phone sold in the state thereafter that do not contain the aforementioned countermeasures. Senator Mark Leno said the following regarding the legislation:
“With robberies of smartphones reaching an all-time high, California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available. Today we are officially stepping in and requiring the cellphone industry to take the necessary steps to curb violent smartphone thefts and protect the safety of the very consumers they rely upon to support their businesses.”
Whether enacting a state law in California will be an effective measure to force the desired implementation remains to be seen as both the carriers and the CTIA mobile industry trade group are opposed to implementing such measures, citing the expense and logistical hurdles currently present, while Leno and Gascon have previously praised Apple and iOS 7 for including an anti-theft deterrent that is similar in scope to their desired solution.