New California Bill will soon require Antitheft Technology in smartphones and tablets


California State Senator Mark Leno will soon introduce a bill requiring all smartphones and tablets to include antitheft technology.

Government officials have long wanted a “killswtich” feature in smartphones that would render the devices useless if they’ve been stolen. They frequently criticised Apple for the lack of a killswitch, until iOS 7 brought Activation Lock.

California is now taking legal measures to ensure all manufacturers have a similar killswitch. From The New York Times:

On Friday, State Senator Mark Leno of California, a Democrat, is expected to introduce legislation requiring all smartphones and tablets sold in the state to include this kind of feature.

The bill, which is sponsored by George Gascón, San Francisco’s district attorney, would require phones sold in California on or after Jan. 1, 2015, to include the antitheft solution. Companies that sold phones without kill switches would be subject to fines of up to $2,500 for each device sold.

Activation Lock, added in iOS 7, doesn’t let thieves restore an iPhone to factory state unless they know the owner’s Apple ID password. Since it’s quite full proof, it is unlikely that Apple would need to worry about this new bill.

CTIA, the industry group representing carriers like AT&T and Verizon, will oppose the bill, saying that a killswitch could be exploited by hackers.