California’s smartphone anti-theft bill now pending governor approval


In February, we reported that California was introducing a bill that would soon require all smartphones and tablets to employ anti-theft technologies. A few months later, the Senate passed that bill. Now, the potential law rests in the hands of the California governor. 

The bill, which involves a so-called “kill switch” for remotely disabling devices that are stolen or lost, could help greatly deter theft of smartphones and tablets in the United States’ most populous state. Apple already employs this feature through its “Find My iPhone” service.

California governor Jerry Brown has 12 days to decide on the bill, introduced by state senator Mark Leno from San Francisco. “Find My iPhone” has been proven to reduce iPhone thefts, so it would be a logical move to force handset makers to include anti-theft technologies on all devices.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google and Microsoft plan to introduce similar anti-theft technologies for Android and Windows Phone.

The proposed bill would require smartphone manufacturers to activate the kill switch feature during the activation process of the device, making it more effective against curbing theft. When enabled, the feature would render the smartphone useless until it is unlocked by its rightful owner.

Apple, BlackBerry, Google, Microsoft and Samsung are among the tech companies that support the bill, alongside AT&T, Verizon and various statewide law enforcement groups.

Have you ever used Find My iPhone to track your lost or stolen iPhone?