Law enforcement and consumer groups support SB962 as a way to deter thefts in response to a crime problem that has exploded nationwide. The bill by Sen.
Under the bill, smartphones must be sold pre-equipped with a "kill switch" that deactivates them if stolen. Such technology is already widely available to download, but the legislation would make the shut-off function standard unless a customer opts out. It does not apply to tablets or laptop computers.
"None of us should have our lives at risk because we walk down the streets with this device each and every one of us use all day long," said Assemblywoman
A report by state attorneys general, prosecutors, police and other officials, released in June, showed how deactivation devices are working to reduce smartphone thefts. After
Leno's bill failed an initial vote in April after fierce opposition from wireless companies and manufacturers warning against varying state regulations for products sold internationally. Many phone manufacturers and wireless companies dropped their opposition after lawmakers agreed to amendments to push back the effective date, exempt tablets and pre-empt local regulations.
SB962, if signed by the governor, would apply to smartphones manufactured and sold after
Leno said the technology must be universal and standard across most phones to send the strongest message to thieves that smartphones aren't worth robbing.
Some Republican lawmakers said the legislation overreached, pointing to voluntary steps taken by cellphone companies to adopt the technology and take other measures to discourage robberies.
"This is another example of
Fenit Nirappil can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/FenitN .
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