News Column

California to Require 'Kill Switch' on Smartphones

August 26, 2014

By David Siders, The Sacramento Bee

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that requires kill switches on all new smartphones. (file photo)

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring disabling "kill switches" on new smartphones, his office announced Monday.

The switch, which could render a stolen phone inoperable, was promoted by law enforcement groups as a deterrent to theft, while manufacturers argued disabling software is already widely available.

Senate Bill 962, by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, applies to smartphones manufactured after July 1, 2015.

"California has just put smartphone thieves on notice," Leno said in a prepared statement.

The bill was approved largely along party lines in California's Democratic-controlled Legislature. Opponents of the legislation included the California Chamber of Commerce and Republican lawmakers who said it would unnecessarily burden manufacturers.

The measure was one of 25 bills Brown announced signing Monday. Among others, the Democratic governor signed legislation recommending that the State Board of Education adopt for California's history and social science curriculum instruction on the election of President Barack Obama and the significance of the United States electing its first African American president.

Brown announced vetoing one bill -- a measure requiring any report submitted to the Legislature by a state agency or department to include a statement signed by the agency or department head swearing to the truth and accuracy of the report's contents.

Senate Bill 1337 was authored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, a critic of the administration's management of construction of the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which opened years late and billions of dollars over budget.

The legislation would make anyone found to be lying in a report liable for a civil penalty of up to $20,000.

In a brief veto message, Brown wrote, "Contrary to its stated purpose, this bill creates new bureaucratic verification requirements that would likely impede communication between the Executive Branch and the Legislature."

Original headline: Jerry Brown signs 'kill switch' smartphone bill

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Source: (c)2014 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) Visit The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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