cellphone theft

New Bill Could Require Smartphones To Come With Kill Switches To Combat Smartphone Theft

December 20, 2013 - Written By Justin Diaz


Smartphones have become a huge part of our lives these days, and they have also become increasingly more popular targets for thieves. According to CNet, The FCC reports that a massive 30-40% of all robberies that happen in the U.S. are made up of thefts of cellphones, which is a staggering number if you think about it. One California Senator aims to combat this head on, by trying to introduce a bill that would require cell phone carriers to enable kill switches within their devices, so that if stolen, they could be rendered inoperable by a signal command sent to the phone.

This would undoubtedly help to solve a big portion of thefts, as the value of the phones being stolen would decrease drastically if they weren’t functional. What about other possible concerns though? One such reason for carriers previously opposing this action is due to possible privacy and hacking issues that the carriers believe could be at risk if a kill switch feature was to be enabled. Senator Mark Leno along with the support of San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon don’t believe this is as much of a risk as the carriers are making it out to be, which is why they plan to introduce the “kill switch” bill in the beginning of the 2014 legislative session which starts in January. Leno believes that plenty of street crimes in many cities across the state of California are due to the high value of smartphones, and says “thefts related to smartphones are becoming more violent”, resulting in not only loss of property but a violation of personal safety. A statement made by Gascon makes it obvious that the safety of citizens is his top concern.

“Californians continue to be victimized at an alarming rate, and this legislation will compel the industry to make the safety of their customers a priority.”

What do you guys think about the possibility of a bill that could disable smartphones if stolen? Would it do more harm than good? If the bill were to pass, what sorts of regulations would have to be met in order for the carriers to back it and stop opposing it?