Smartphone theft is certainly an issue, one which has garnered enough attention from smartphone makers as well as the tech companies like Google who pump out the operating system. It's also gained significant attention from California law makers over the last year and half which eventually resulted in California passing a law which stated all future smartphones sold in the state would need to come with a kill switch on them to deter thieves. The issue in California for smartphone theft was apparently so bad that it warranted this type of action, although it wasn't the only location which government officials noticed a rise in thefts, and generally larger cities were open targets for thieves.. At the time of the laws' passing, it was written in that all phone sold in California would need to be equipped with the security protocol by July of 2015. It's July 1st, which means the law is now in effect.
With California's law now in place, phones manufactured and sold after today will need to come with the kill switch embedded in the software, but the law also states that it has to be on by default. So far major retailers like Walmart have responded stating they would be ready in compliance with the law while retailers like Best Buy have not yet stated whether they would be in compliance as of July 1st, today.
While not all users will feel the same about having this kind of function turned on by default, it serves as an extra layer of security to protect the personal information of consumers who own these devices and has actually done quite a bit to decrease the theft rate of smartphones, with numbers falling from 3.1 million thefts of smartphone devices across the U.S. recorded in 2013, to 2.1 million thefts of smartphone devices last year. With features like Android's 'Device Protection' smartphones which are equipped with the latest version of software, Android Lollipop, will become a more popular choice for consumers, although due to the rate of software adoption on Android retail stores won't immediately be selling devices with the kill switch only. California government is aware of this fact and understands it will take some time for devices with older software which doesn't contain this new protection software to be "phased out."