U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) wants cell phone manufacturers to include a “kill switch” help deter cell phone thefts, reports WCCO-TV. University of Minnesota police said cell phone thefts have been a factor in almost all of the 25 robberies in and around campus this fall and winter. Nationally, one in three robberies reportedly involve a cell phone. Stolen phones are then often shipped overseas and sold for as much as $400. Klobuchar said a kill switch would render the stolen cell phone useless, lessening its value and its attractiveness to thieves.
“This is a new type of theft that has been mounting over the years and it's in direct response to the value of these cell phones,” Klobuchar said. Cell phone companies have voiced opposition. Industry critics say that opposition is profit motivated — rising cell phone thefts have led to an increase in consumers purchasing cell phone insurance. Cell phone companies also warn that hackers could infiltrate kill switch technology and turn off phones across the nation. Klobuchar has proposed a federal bill on the subject, and a Minnesota state representative is proposing a similar bill at the state level that would require all cell phone companies sold in Minnesota to have a kill switch. If they don't, the companies would have to provide insurance free of charge.