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OEM “Kill-switch” anti theft bill proposed by California State

As more and more persons become owners of smart phones, thieves have found an ever increasing number of targets to prey on. Theft of cellphones is at an all time high in major urban centers across the US and many other countries, and the Californian government has decided to take a stance against it. With cellphones taking a more prominent roll in our lives, we all store sensitive information on our devices, and this is what the bill proposes to address.

Mark Leno, a state senator, is one of the main proponents of this bill and he released this official statement regarding the matter: “With robberies of smartphones reaching an all-time high, California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available. Today we are officially stepping in and requiring the cellphone industry to take the necessary steps to curb violent smartphone thefts and protect the safety of the very consumers they rely upon to support their businesses.”

Leno is proposing that OEMs insert a special security feature that allows owners to wipe devices upon realization of theft or misplacement of the device. The bill is pushing for the implementation of such a feature by January 1st 2015, and seeks a fine of up to $2,500 for each device that is shipped without said software in California. Although the push is being made the State of California, such a bill would require the implementation of the software on all phones across the country because it wouldn’t be practical to sell a Californian version of a device.

The implementation of Google’s ‘Android Device Manager‘ and Apple’s ‘Activation Lock’ are great steps, but there is a desire for more to be done. There is a desire for faster and simpler ways to protect our identities from those who seek exploitation. While there is much to be discussed and determined before such a bill is passed, I welcome the initiative and hope that it helps to make device owners like ourselves feel a lot safer with our prized possessions. Anything that serves as a deterrent for a would-be criminal is a huge plus in my book and it should be in yours too.

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Sources: New York Times

Myril Kennedy

I am a fan of technology and Android in particular. It has helped to turn the mobile industry on its head, and its open source nature has opened many doors that were previously closed. I am also a self confessed Google fanboy, so it may be reflected in my views from time to time.

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