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California Smartphone 'Kill Switch' Bill Signed Into Law

SACRAMENTO — A bill requiring new smartphones sold in California to have the so-called 'kill switch' anti-theft technology was signed into law Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The legislation authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) requires smartphone manufacturers to include technology to maker the phone inoperable if stolen.

"Getting mugged or robbed just because you have your cell phone in your hand is soon to be a thing of the past," Skinner said in a press release. "The Governor signing SB 962, the kill switch bill, is a victory for consumer safety."

The bill does not specify exactly how smartphone makers can meet the requirements, only that they keep up with the evolving technology and produce a way to render stolen phones inoperable.

An earlier version of the bill had also included tablets and other handheld mobile devices, but the language was stripped out to target only smartphones.

Consumer Reports says the number of smartphone thefts has doubled from 1.6 million in 2012 to 3.1 million in 2013.

Nearly 50 percent of property crimes in San Francisco involve mobile devices. In Oakland, the figure is about 60 percent.


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