Theft of personal, digital devices is fairly rampant, but thanks to the introduction of kill-switches, those snatching the gadgets of others are now often left with a bricked product that cannot be used or sold at will. It’s not much consolation to the victim, but it has made a noticeable difference to smartphone theft in that the numbers have dropped off significantly. Now, a new law has been passed in California that means by 2015, any handset sold in the state will need to be kitted up with its very own kill-switch, and although most top-end devices now ship with such measures right out of the box, this new move will ensure that all new smartphones include something similar.
These kill-switch features must be fool-proof, of course, and non-hackable via downgrading or other means. Already, there are a bunch of different solutions offering remote-locking of a device that should comply with the SB-962 Smartphones bill, and although it’s likely that most smartphones will be covered by next July anyway, those in California certainly will be.
Along with the release of iOS 7 late last year, Apple rolled out Activation Lock, which requires a user to log in using a specific Apple ID and password. Linked in with iCloud, an intruder has no way of getting into it without those credentials, and unless you’re one of those folks that uses a really obvious password, the device would only really be any good to anybody for spares or repairs.
Samsung has also focused its attention on adding robust security features to its Android-running handsets, and with Google typically efficient, most of the big names are already primed and ready for this law to take effect.
Presumably, other states and locations worldwide will follow suit as the world deals with the very real, very prevalent threat of smartphone theft, and although some older devices may still be vulnerable, it won’t be long before the gig is up and unwanted individuals are left to seek new enterprises.
As Senator Mark Leno aptly concludes, “California has just put smartphone thieves on notice,” and once these irreversible features reach everybody, it’ll be one less crime to worry about.
You can read about the whole bill in detail here.
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