Home / OPINION / Kill Switches on Smartphones May Lower Crime Rate, California Lawmakers Look to Pass Bill

Kill Switches on Smartphones May Lower Crime Rate, California Lawmakers Look to Pass Bill

Lawmakers in California want to require kill switches on smartphones that would render the phone or tablet inoperable if stolen. They crime rate for the theft of mobile devices has risen more than 12% in recent years in California. The Federal Communications Commission indicated that the theft of smartphones and tablets accounts for nearly 1/3 of robberies across the United States. The idea of kill switches in smartphones has seen some opposition nationwide, except for in California most people think it would be a good idea. George Gascon the District Attorney in San Francisco said, the theft of smartphones accounts for more than half the robberies in the city. State Sen. Mark Leno and California lawmakers introduced a new bill on Thursday in hopes of combating these numbers.

Mark Leno California State Sen.

Mark Leno California State Sen. Image Courtesy: Associated Press

Some wireless carriers already offer theft protection for mobile devices, but in most cases it costs extra. Samsung offers LoJack app for its Android devices that renders the phone inoperable if stolen and Apple’s latest device offers a lockout feature. The major advantage of adding the kill switch is that it would make the smartphone valueless on the Black Market. Officials in the wireless industry agree for the most part that kill switches would be a good way to cutdown on crime and improve public safety, but they are wary of letting the government get involved. John Doherty, the vice president of TechNet said:

In general, we agree that it’s smart to try to engage technology to improve public safety, but we are going to be very cautious about attempts to legislatively mandate future technology in products.”

Other critics throughout the wireless industry have remained cautious to the idea. Manufacturers’ possibly remain relatively uninterested in theft deterrents options, because victims typically buy new devices, which increases sales.

California Lawmakers Look To Require Kill Switches On Smartphones For Theft Protection

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