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California Mobile Technology

California signs smartphone 'killswitch' law to halt mobile thieves


By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

August 26, 2014 | 2 min read

California has passed a law making it mandatory for smartphones to come with “kill switches” in order to prevent data theft on lost or stolen devices.

Apple, based in California were initially against the bill

Governor Jerry Brown passed the law to lessen the incentive to steal the devices - a crime which accounts for over half of the state’s police reports.

The feature will also protect consumers’ phone data, including card details and social network accounts, from potential thieves.

Smartphones sold in California after July 2015, will be required to have the data-erasing software, triggered when the device connects to a Wi-Fi source, after the former owner reports the missing device.

The mobile industry was against the immediate implementation of the bill, but settled for 2015 to give them substantial time to design and integrate the feature into smartphones.

Democratic state senator, Mark Leno, the bill's author, said: “Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fueling street crime and violence within our communities.”

This comes after a former Sun journalist was this earlier this month acquitted of reporting on texts from a stolen mobile phone.

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