Lawmakers in Calif. are moving a bill forward to make it mandatory for “tablets, and iPhones,” to have a “kill-switch”, reported by ‘Tech Times’ today Feb 7. The hope of the bill is to deter the rising theft occurring with these popular gadgets, because the threat level of people being killed is on the rise.
The “kill-switch” bill will mandate carriers in Calif. to provide features that will disable the gadgets when the device is stolen or lost.
Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti also told lawmakers that this bill is essential, and if nothing is done, the public’s welfare and safety is put at risk.
In 2012, Megan Boken was killed for her smartphone. Her father Paul Boken is adamant that this bill be passed sooner than later.
“The theft of a smartphone ended my daughter’s life and forever changed mine,” Paul said.
However, not everyone agrees with the idea of government deciding what is designed into their devices.
Technet, Vice President John Doherty said such legislation mandates could raise the cost of the product and it would be passed to the customers, and might derail innovation. Doherty also said he doesn’t agree with government invading their design ideas. Adding, “in general, we agree that it’s smart to try to engage technology to improve public safety.”
For the companies that don’t agree with the “kill-switch” bill, why haven’t they proposed earlier solutions to help with the rising public safety concerns? Why wait for the government to make a safety law and then say it isn’t right for government to dictate how they design?
Geroge Gascon, San Francisco district attorney said we are not mandating how the industry needs to implement the design, but rather we are going to require them to take action instead of inaction.
Samsung had stepped up last year to implement such changes in their devices but told Gascon’s team that the major U.S. carriers wanted nothing to do with the idea. However, Gascon firmly disagrees.
Gascon said that these wireless companies should no longer be able to place its customers in harms way and should be looking for ways to protect them.
In 2012 the Federal Communications Commission studied cell phone thefts and found that 1 in 3 U.S. robberies were for smartphone devices. The FCC study also concluded that iPhones were targeted more than other devices that have been reported lost or stolen, and accounted for more than $30 billion is losses.
Calif. lawmakers said residents and industry can expect this bill to be proposed sometime in the spring. Gascon said in a news conference they are giving manufacturers until June to propose their own ideas to help protect the public from the rising killings and theft of iPhones.