Proposed CA Law Would Turn Stolen Smartphones Into Bricks
Friday, December 20, 2013
Aired 12/23/13 on KPBS News.
Proposed legislation in California would require smartphone manufacturers to include a "kill switch" in their devices.
Proposed legislation in California would require smartphone manufacturers to include a "kill switch" in their devices. The feature would make stolen phones unusable, and San Diego police say that could help curb the ongoing problem of smartphone theft.
Some thieves hold up their victims. Others prey on inattentive smartphone owners. Lieutenant Kevin Mayer said San Diego police saw smartphone thefts jump recently, with the debut of new devices.
"Western Division spoke about their being a spike when Apple and Samsung released their new phones," Mayer said.
A law proposed by California state senator Mark Leno seeks to reduce thefts by making smartphones less desirable to criminals. The required technology would give users the ability to make their stolen phones inoperable.
Some manufacturers have already implemented such features, but the technology is opposed by many mobile carriers.
The Federal Communications Commission estimates as much as 40 percent of all robberies involve a cellphone.