If Gov. Jerry Brown approves, California will join Minnesota to become the second state to require cellphone “kill switches,” says the Washington Post. A bill approved by the California legislature this week would require phones made after July 1, 2015, to include a feature that renders them inoperable if they fall into the wrong hands. Proponents hope kill switches will thwart the growing problem of cellphone theft. Opponents and industry officials say it could invite threats to privacy and security.
In 2012, more than half the thefts in San Francisco and more than three in four in Oakland involved a smartphone, according to a legislative analysis. Cities across the nation report similar trends. Minnesota passed kill switch legislation in May. Four Democratic senators introduced a similar federal bill in February.