After much deliberation in the beginning about a Californian law to pass a new Kill Switch bill through legislation, that would require smartphone makers to include technology that could allow consumers to remotely wipe data and have the ability to effectively kill the device remotely has finally passed. The passing of the bill was not without its hurdles though as it was initially shot down after heavy opposition from OEMs, including Samsung and Apple who remain the worlds number one and number two smartphone manufacturers. The bill which seeks to give consumers more control over the protection practices of their devices if stolen, is also in part a move that the California senate and mainly San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno(who authored the bill) hoped would be implemented because of rising smartphone theft. Police around the United States have also been putting pressure on smartphone makers to add in this anti theft tech to hopefully cause robberies related to smartphone theft to decrease.
The new bill has been amended with changes that sees tablets left out of the legislative mandates for this “kill switch” tech to be seen in future devices, and also gives OEMs another six months on top of the time they already had to start manufacturing devices with the kill switch technology inside. This extra time would give manufacturers the ability to sell off any or as much stock as possible before the bill would take effect. Although Apple initially opposed the bill, after Leno’s amendment he says they retracted their objection. So far this new bill would only affect smartphones sold in the state of California, which would see smartphones have the need for this anti-theft technology to be built in starting July of 2015. The California bill isn’t the only one in the works though. Minnesota passed a bill similar in nature and the city of San Francisco is apparently considering its own law entirely, while the Attorney General for the state of New York is trying to get a federal legislation passed. While this bill would see new forms of anti theft tech built into the devices themselves, there are already numerous ways that individuals can protect their data in the event of stolen devices. What these bills are essentially aiming to do is decrease the rate of crimes related to smartphone theft which lawmakers and police are fearing will become increasingly violent.