Officials in SanFrancisco and New York have been putting major pressure on cell phone companies to include antitheft devices in smart phones. The officials want smart phone companies to adopt a “kill switch” that would completely deactivate a smart phone once the owner has discovered that there smart phone was stolen. With this Kill switch government officials are hoping that it will make it more difficult for a thief to go on and sell the stollen phone.
Mark Leno, California democrat, is introducing a legislation that will require all smartphones and tablets sold in California after January 1, 2015 to include some form of theft prevention. Companies that do not include some type of “Kill switch” could be subject to a $2,500 fine. The officials also hoped that with this bill Smart Phone companies would include some type of antitheft device in all of their products because it would not make sense for them to only include the device in products sold in the state of California
Senator Leno said in a statement “With robberies of smartphones reaching an all-time high, California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available”.
This legislation is bound to face much criticism, especially from CTIA, which is the industry trade group that represents cellphone carriers such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US. The CTIA claims that a device such as the Kill Switch could cause a problem with hackers who would be able to deactivate people phones. They also bring up the point that if a customer was to find their phone after they had already deactivated it the customer would not be able to reactivate the smart phone. The CTIA has also argued that they are working on a Database that would allow for stollen cell phones to be tracked, However government officials say that this data base will not be enough considering many phones end up overseas.
Being on a college campus along with living in the city there are many incidents of stolen phones and tablets. All over the loyola campus there are signs reminding students to keep track of their items. I think it is scary just how much information people have on their phones, from important passwords to bank account information. Something like a kill switch would give people a little bit more of a piece of mind once their device was stolen.
Chen, B. (2014, February 7). California bill would require antitheft technology for cellphones. New York Times. Retrieved from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/kill-switch-bill/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=technology&_r=0