Activation-Lock-02

As we’ve previously covered, the state of California has been in the process of passing a bill that would require all smartphones sold within the state to come with a remote killswitch option to deter thieves. The bill was passed by the state legislature earlier this year, and today it was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, as noted by CNET.

The law goes into effect in July 2015, and will require all smartphones sold within the state to include an option for remotely disabling a stolen device. Apple has already met the requirements of this law with its Activation Lock and Find My iPhone services, but now such features will be required by law on Android, Windows Phone, and other handsets.

Law enforcement officials have previously pointed out that the release of Activation Lock has contributed to a decline in smartphone theft in some cities, and government officials were at one point working hard at trying to find a way to crack the system. The law will require such features to come enabled by default on all devices, though at the moment it still needs to be activated manually when logging into iCloud.

Mississippi passed a similar bill earlier this year. Neither the Mississippi bill nor the California one apply to tablets or other cellular devices, though in theory a second law could be passed that would require those devices to also support these features.

A fine of up to $2,500 will be assessed for every device sold after July 1st, 2015 that does not comply with this new law.

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32 Responses to “California governor signs bill requiring all smartphones to have remote killswitches by July 2015”

  1. Hold on a second… Isn’t there already a law to disallow thieving? How’s that working out for California? Seriously, they couldn’t think of something else to do in order to siphon off tax payer dollars into their pockets?

    Liked by 1 person

    • eswinson says:

      How does this siphon off tax dollars? Deterring my phone from being stollen and preventing a carrier or device maker shrugging their shoulders and saying “sorry dude would you like to buy a new one?” while they happily activate the thief’s ill gotten booty costs the public far more than enforcing the law.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Every respectable manufacturer will already include this functionality as a selling point. How many months have been wasted drafting and arguing about this law? Do you think the politicians volunteer their time? Californians pay for laws to be created – the process, the time, the wasted time, is paid for by tax dollars.

        My point is that three’s no need for a law to get manufacturers on board. It’s just government posturing and wheel spinning.

        Like

      • herb02135go says:

        Legislation is appropriate.
        The manufacturers could discontinue, but not anymore.

        Liked by 2 people

      • And when this doesn’t stop theft?

        These idiot politicians actually think that this is going to stop phone theft? Get a clue. What is going to happen is phones will still be stolen, except now instead of the phone being sold as a phone it will be pieced out and sold as a replacement screen or a replacement battery or a replacement …

        Like

      • eswinson says:

        It has already been shown to reduce thefts that’s why states are adopting legislation to require it. Most phone thefts are crimes of opportunity not the work of criminal crime rings sourcing inventory for a stolen phone parts business. Considering I can source practically any OEM or replacement part new from eBay or Alibaba for a few bucks and get it in days, a parted out stolen phone will only find a home on the workbench of the occasional unscrupulous repair shop.

        Like

  2. eswinson says:

    What’s interesting about this is you can’t just slap android on a cheap phone and expect to comply. This requires a backend system and ongoing support. Not every phone will have carrier support and I don’t think google is going to offer it up for free. So if you are selling XYZ imported unlocked phone from China in your flea market booth you probably are not going to be in compliance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Umm, no one steals Android phones. And those picked up off the floor where they’ve been discarded are probably all turned into the lost and found anyway – or dropped in a trash can. If you’ve never used an Android phone you may not understand this or may think I’m using hyperbole. Nope.

      Like

      • rettun1 says:

        Uuuggghhh my brain…. You’re hurting it!!

        Don’t expect a round of high fives for bashing android just because this is an Apple related site. Believe it or not, both sides……

        What am I even doing lol. Nothing I say will influence you. Go on and play

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Beasley says:

      Google is including it in Android L completely free I believe.

      Like

  3. myke2241 says:

    i think a better comment is… This is what poorly managed CA is spending their on solving!

    Like

    • herb02135go says:

      And how many of you live in CA?

      This is a good law. While Apple says it is doing this, it can withdraw or stop at any time if it hurts the companies bottom line. Legislation is appropriate.

      I’m loving my Samsung S5, with its big screen, great battery life, ability to multitask, etc. Check it out.

      Like

      • kevicosuave says:

        Apple isn’t currently in compliance with what the new law will require. Apple’s feature is opt-in, and they’ll need to switch it to be opt-out.

        I agree that this is a good law, it’s likely to significantly reduce theft and violence.

        Like

  4. Josh Hutton says:

    What if doing this encroaches on someone else’s patents? Will they get to do it anyway? O would think that these companies would already have added this feature to their devices, if not for the patent issues.

    Like

    • eswinson says:

      Then they will be required to license a patent. The federal government mandates all types of safety technologies for cars. Do you think Kia has uniquely defendable patents on airbags?

      Like

  5. drtyrell969 says:

    If you think this is about thieves you’re one stupid stupid person.

    Like

  6. robertsm76 says:

    So let’s sat that you and your lady have a fight, and you decide to say that the phone she is using ‘has been stolen’. Seems like this scenario could happen a lot

    Like

  7. eldernorm says:

    I have to wonder if it applies to older phones being sold before the kill switch technology existed. iPhone 3Gs and before do not use the software as far as I know.

    Like

  8. Carlos Shabo says:

    i don’t like this. why does the government care if you lost your phone? stay out of peoples lives.

    this is going to be a nationwide thing soon. and when the time comes the Government is going to kill all cellphones at once and the world is going to go into a dark place.

    Government shouldn’t have this kind of power to remotely shut something off. i means whats the % of people who get there phones stolen? 1/10,000?

    Like

    • I think you need to be more concerned with how the tech works than doomsday scenarios… ;) The government have always had a remote kill switch, they can simply switch the entire network off, not just smart phones, but every phone…! The remote kill switch being discussed is for YOU to use, and block and lock etc, so YOU have control… ;)

      Like

      • Carlos Shabo says:

        I dont agree with that. this Cell phone Kill Switch sounds like it will literally shut off the phone as a whole, not just the network. meaning no WiFi will work with it. no music can be played, and no games can be played.

        its not needed. people need to just realize that if your phone is stolen, call it a wash go buy a new one and be more careful, its a life lesson that has been learned. Apple already has Find my iPhone, so if someone does steal it or it does get lost, you can erase your stuff or lock it so no one gets into it, from your computer.

        Like

  9. Big Brother is watching over your phone just a little bit more when this law is in. He can now shut of your communications by remote control. Slice by salami slice your freedom to communicate is being cut away.

    Like

    • herb02135go says:

      I would be more concerned about Big Data Mining than government. I’m sure you’ve already given away more info to private businesses than the government would ever want to know.
      Plus, the government has laws. Big Data is unregulated for the most part.

      Like

  10. herb02135go says:

    The headline should say new smartphone s rather than all smartphones.

    Like

    • eswinson says:

      Even current smartphones if they are still being sold. Certainly not all in existence prior to the law, but smartphones have such a short lifespan it won’t be long until it I applied to “most”

      Like

  11. John Smith says:

    I think some people on here need to double up the aluminium foil in their hats.

    Just to repeat what it already says in the article … all this law requires is for phones to have what is already there on IOS7 – the owner can shut down a stolen phone, then only the owner can make it work again via the iTunes password.

    There’s nothing there about ‘government’ shutting your phone down. If they did, then you could re-start it.

    For those of you who fear the government is out to get you … If the government want to shut down your phone they just turn off the cell phone signal. If they really don’t like you, they leave your phone switched on and use it to track you down so they can arrest you. They can also cause it to leave the microphone/camera running as a sort of global bug. This could be happening to you, right now. Better take the battery out of that phone or best yet go totally bin-laden and not have a phone. Or the internet.

    Anyone dumb enough to think killing stolen phones is a bad idea – go into [settings] / [iCloud] / [find my phone] and turn it off. Please wear some sort of badge, t-shirt (or foil hat) telling the robbers you have done this so they can rob, stomp and stab YOU for your phone, not me.

    Like

  12. eswinson says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if those that are overwhelmingly opposed to this legislation are not just career phone thieves that are wrestling with the the hard reality of being forced to find another occupation.

    Like

  13. Like the biggest attempt (law-wise) to HELP the GOVERMENT TRACK Your Phones, F****rs…

    Like