Monday, May 12, 2014

California Passes Smartphone Kill Switch Bill, Why You Should Care!

Over the past few years we've seen carriers willing to do next to nothing to protect consumers from lost or stolen cellphones. Up until recently the only minor protection a consumer had was the newly enacted stolen phone database, which has seemingly done little to deter thieves as we've seen smartphone thefts continue to rise at alarming rate.

On Thursday, California legislators took steps toward becoming one of the first states in the country to pass laws requiring smartphones to feature stronger anti-theft technology. The California Senate approved a measure that would require every smartphone sold in California to include a so-called kill switch that allows victims of theft to disable a stolen device. The bill fines retailers between $500 and $2,500 for selling smartphones without a kill switch.

While many may argue that most smatphones have software with the ability to track a lost or stolen phone and many even include the ability to remotely wipe those devices. A kill switch, or reactivation lock could take those measures to an even greater level, one that could offer even more protection than that of a carrier's IMEI blocking.

If implemented correctly (and I'll admit that is a major IF) just knowing their would be victims have phones that can't full fledged kill switches could be a major deterrent to would be thieves. Who would steal a phone if you know for certain it could never be used again and could be locked and wiped immediately?

Just how bad is smartphone theft?

About 3.1 million phones were stolen in the U.S. in 2013, nearly double the number of thefts from the previous year, according to Consumer Reports. That totals more than $5 Billion dollars worth of stolen cellphones that need to be replaced world wide each year. Think that isn't bad? Smartphone theft also account for roughly 30% of all crimes in major US cities.

Checkout the infographic below for more!

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