Calif. lawmakers consider ‘kill switches’ for mobile devices

California lawmakers have set their sights on thieves that target smartphones and tablets.

tablets_artA bill put before the state Legislature this week will require that all smartphones and tablets sold in California have disabling technology installed that would render the phone inoperable if stolen. If passed, the law would be the first of its kind in the United States.

The bill addresses a serious and dangerous issue confronting owners of smartphones, tablets and Apple devices. More than 50 percent of al robberies in San Francisco involve the theft of a mobile device, according to the San Francisco district attorney’s office. Thefts of smartphones in Los Angeles, police officials say, rose 12 percent in 2012. Many of the devices end up being sold on the black market.

State Sen. Mark Leno, who introduced the bill to the Legislature, says the addition of this “kill switch” would render the devices useless to thieves.

If enacted, other states might catch on in a bid to protect victimized consumers.

The California Legislature’s Senate Bill 962 explains it all in detail.