Cell phone thefts are on the rise, while there isn’t any reliable ways to protect your phones from theft. Apple has find my iPhone and Android has the device manager, but they are only a small defense when your phone is stolen or lost. A California bill would would require cellphones to add a kill switch to keep phones from being used when they are stolen. The bill was first proposed by Senator Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat, who gained 19 to 17 in favor on the bill, but couldn’t gain the 21 votes in order to pass.
The legislation was opposed by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung, as well as several major wireless carriers. The bill was backed by several lawmakers who main concerns were the rising numbers of phones being stolen across the state. While the lawmakers noted the current apps offered for phones, they wanted to make a kill switch was easily accessible to consumers.
“This technology already exists, but it needs to be deployed in a way which doesn’t rely on consumers to seek out the solutions and turn them on. That’s all this legislation does,” Gascon said. “With their no vote(s), 17 members of the Senate chose to protect billion dollar industry profits over the safety of the constituents they were elected to serve.”
The FCC hasn’t weighed in yet, but with their recent actions it doesn’t seem like they would get behind any bills of these sorts. The state lawmakers want to discourage theft, and protect consumers large investments they make in their phones. Many have suggested using a database of stolen phones for carriers to cross check to ensure no one uses these stolen phones.
Do you agree with either a “kill switch” or a database of stolen phones, or do you think phone makers should offer better ways to secure your phones? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.