CNET reported yesterday that California has become the second state (Minnesota was the first) to require a "kill switch" on smartphones. The software used is designed to make stealing smartphones pointless by allowing owners to remotely lock their device so no one else can use them. The technology, which includes Apple's "Activation Lock" and Google's "Device Protection," has become a key selling point among phone manufacturers.
The technology industry's answer to smartphone theft has been to create software that responds to a theft by requiring users to input a passcode on the phone before it can be unlocked or restored to factory settings. The technology is working: In 2013, 3.1 million Americans had their phones stolen, according to a study published by Consumer Reports last month. In 2014, that number fell to 2.1 million, according to the report.
The key difference between the California law and the Minnesota law is that California's law requires that the software be turned on by default. It applies to all smartphones manufactured after July 1st and sold in the state.
The price tag for the "knowing retail sale" of a smartphone that doesn't meet the requirement is $500 to $2,500.
California got it right - time for the other state legislatures to follow suit!
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Digital Forensics/Information Security/Information Technology