The California legislature passed a bill on Monday that would require ‘kill switches’ on all smartphones sold in the state, according to Reuters. The kill switches would be render the phones inoperable if they are stolen or lost.
Smartphone theft accounts for more than half of all the crimes in multiple cities within the state of California. Two of those cities are Oakland and San Francisco.
Senator Mark Leno, of San Francisco, is the author of the bill. Leno said the following: “Our goal is to swiftly take the wind out of the sails of thieves who have made the theft of smartphones one of the most prevalent street crimes in California’s biggest cities.”
Similar laws could be passed in Rhode Island, New York and Illinois, as lawmakers are considering these measures. The first kill-switch law in the country was passed in May by the state of Minnesota. Leno said that his bill would require manufacturers to inform consumers that the software is available for their phones.
The bill can be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. It would require all smartphones sold in the state after July of 2015 to have the kill-switch technology already installed on them.
The law will require wireless companies to ask for the username and password associated with the phone if it has been de-activated prior to activating it for the owner. Leno hopes this feature will limit the value of the phone on the black market.
Leno’s bill received support from the California Police Chiefs Association, the California District Attorneys Association and the California Sheriffs Association.
“I commend the Legislature for standing up to the wireless industry and voting to protect the safety of their constituents,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.
The bill was originally defeated by the state Senate when it was introduced last spring.