Cali Kill Switch Bill Falls in Senate

smartphoneDevice makers and service providers will get to decide whether to participate in a kill switch program after legislation to mandate the move failed to pass in the California senate this week.

Earlier this year State Sen. Mark Leno introduced the bill requiring all wireless phones to have a built-in capacity to allow its functions to be remotely disabled. Lawmakers hoped the function would serve as a theft deterrent, considering mobile devices are stolen in 30 to 40 percent of robberies across the United States.

The bill fell in a 19-17 vote and many telecom companies are applauding the decision. If passed, the bill would have only impacted California but many suspected it would lead to a national strategy since the technology would be expensive to implement in a select market.

However, the California decision doesn’t impact the recently announced CTIA Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment program, which has a more limited reach than the failed bill. Under the CTIA program, all handsets manufactured after July 2015 will be enabled with baseline anti-theft tool that is either preloaded or downloadable. Apple, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Google, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have all signed on to the program.

*Source: PC World