USA Today has reported that a bill is in the process of being passed that requires all smartphones have to a "kill switch" installed by the manufacturers. What exactly is a "kill switch" and why are these going to be installed? Two California officials are planning to introduce legislation on a "kill switch" being mandatory in all phones, specifically smartphones. This will in turn make that smartphone virtually useless and inoperable once that switch is turned on. It was said that the reason for this new requirement is that theft of smartphones is at an all-time high and it is reported that the majority of the smartphones stolen are being resold by the thieves to unknowing consumers. The proposed "kill switch" would make it impossible to activate and use a stolen cellphone.
According to Leno, a San Francisco Democrat: "One of the top catalysts for street crime in many California cities is smartphone theft, and these crimes are becoming increasingly violent," Leno said. "We cannot continue to ignore our ability to utilize existing technology to stop cellphone thieves in their tracks. It is time to act on this serious public safety threat to our communities."
What are the risks of this potential new requirement? The CTIA-The Wireless Association says a permanent kill switch has serious risks. Some of these risks include hackers locking out individuals from their phones as well as government issued phones for the Department of Defense and Homeland Security to just name a few.
It is said that by January 2014, officials will move forward if the manufacturers have not come up with another solution to curb the theft problems in this country.
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