California Mandates Smartphone Kill Switches to Fight Theft

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 08:23 PM

 

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Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation requiring smartphone makers such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. to equip the devices sold in California with technology that renders them useless if stolen.

Brown, a 76-year-old Democrat, signed a bill today ordering the theft-deterrent, also known as a kill switch, installed and activated on smartphones sold in the state beginning in July 2015. Consumers can opt out if they choose.

Mobile-phone companies have been under pressure from law- enforcement officials around the U.S. to add more anti-theft features as thefts rise nationwide. California, the most populous U.S. state, is the second to set the mandate following Minnesota, which enacted a similar bill in May.

South Korea’s Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, along with Cupertino, California-based Apple, AT&T Inc., and 10 other smartphone makers and wireless companies, agreed in May to offer such technology beginning next year.


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