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Proposed California Law Would Mandate Smartphone Kill Switch

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the kill-kill-kill dept.

Your Rights Online 252

alphadogg writes "Kill-switch technology that can render a lost or stolen smartphone useless would become mandatory in California under a new bill that will be proposed to the state legislature in January. The bill will be introduced by Senator Mark Leno, a Democrat representing San Francisco and neighboring towns, and George Gascón, the district attorney for San Francisco. Gascón has been spearheading a push by major law-enforcement agencies across the U.S. for more to be done to prevent smartphone theft. The proposed law could reach well beyond the borders of California. Because of the difficulty and added cost of producing handsets solely for sale in California, it could serve to make kill-switch technology a standard feature on phones sold across the U.S."

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252 comments

California (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740557)

It's amazing how these retards affect everything that is sold the in the US.

Re:California (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 7 months ago | (#45740617)

well, Texas determines school books for the US. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/21/how-texas-inflicts-bad-textbooks-on-us/ [nybooks.com] (of course..."bad"...is only the headline writer's opinion)

Re:California (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#45740923)

Texas determines about half the school books used in the USA. California determines the other half.

Re:California (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 7 months ago | (#45741409)

It's amazing how these retards affect everything that is sold the in the US.

A small group in Miami determine whether you can buy Havana Club Rum or legally lie in the beach in Varadero.

No... (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 months ago | (#45740565)

On the surface one might thing âoeThatâ(TM)s a great idea, it would make stolen phone useless!â

But beyond the idea that eventually hackers would find a path around such measures, it also opens the door to abuse by âoeLaw Enforcementâ, who are notoriously unable to police themselves from both breaking the law and abusing the privileges they have been given.

Re:No... (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#45740645)

On the surface one might thing âoeThatâ(TM)s a great idea, it would make stolen phone useless!â

But beyond the idea that eventually hackers would find a path around such measures, it also opens the door to abuse by âoeLaw Enforcementâ, who are notoriously unable to police themselves from both breaking the law and abusing the privileges they have been given.

"Oh, you found your missing phone, which you thought was stolen, so we bricked it. Certainly we can unbrick it - for a modest fee of $85 - MUAH HA HA HA HAAAAAAH! Oh, pardon I dribbled a bit at the thought of extracting this fee for 5 seconds work. Excuse me while I get a mop and a bucket."

Nah, it wouldn't be abused.

Re:No... (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 months ago | (#45740767)

More importantly...

I'm getting sick of CA putting out rules and "standards" that spread to other states that don't want/need them.

Re:No... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740989)

Now you know how the rest of the planet feels about the US...

Re:No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741053)

You are actually spot on - Cal is viewed by people in the other states very similar to how the US is viewed by other countries (but primarily people in the EU).

Re:No... (2)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 7 months ago | (#45741173)

More importantly...

I'm getting sick of CA putting out rules and "standards" that spread to other states that don't want/need them.

California has a big enough market that they can mostly get away with it. It would be interesting to see what
would happen if companies called their bluff and just skipped the california market. I'm assuming in certain
areas there are already a lot of items that are not being sold in California but what if the big companies like
Nokia, Samsung, etc... just decided not to comply and skipped the California market. One of these days they
are going to pass a law that's too hard to comply with and companies are going to call their bluff.

Re:No... (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 7 months ago | (#45741393)

"Oh, you found your missing phone, which you thought was stolen, so we bricked it. Certainly we can unbrick it - for a modest fee of $85 - MUAH HA HA HA HAAAAAAH! Oh, pardon I dribbled a bit at the thought of extracting this fee for 5 seconds work. Excuse me while I get a mop and a bucket.""

That might be their ideal intent, but it ain't gonna happen.

The reason is this: the only way to do a "kill switch" reliably, which can't be bypassed, is to truly brick the phone, beyond repair. Anything else, and hack solutions to un-brick would be available for free in 2 weeks.

Aaaaaannnddd... to illustrate the true idiocy of this idea: if they do implement "remote kill", hacks to do THAT will also be available soon for free. So thousands if not millions will be able to kiss their phones goodbye because someone who doesn't like them pulls a malicious prank.

Re:No... (1)

Gallomimia (1415613) | about 7 months ago | (#45740675)

I agree 100%. This sounds like one of those propositions that looks, on the surface, like it will stop theft and help the average consumer. But in reality, I'm sure it will have ways of getting around that will merely slow down thieves and make them smarter in the process, while at the same time providing a mass-kill-switch for Law Enforcement to use during riots and protests and other political situations.
Either way, we need to nip this in the bud immediately.
I've had a lot of cell phones, and have lost some once or twice. They've always been returned to me, by very nice people who I have thanked profusely. I say that if you can't keep your fist on your phone, why do you have one in the first place? If you can't keep your eyes out for unscrupulous peoples who might steal your electronics, why bother to buy them at all?

Re:No... (5, Insightful)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | about 7 months ago | (#45741031)

Each phone has an IMEI burned into it's hardware. This IMEI and the phone number are transmitted to the cell tower every time you communicate. All IMEIs for a given carrier are whitelisted. What the system does is remove the IMEI of stolen phones from the whitelist. A hacker would have to change the IMEI of the phone to another one on the whitelist. This may be trivial or hard based on the hardware, but such systems have been active in Australia for 20 years now, and the market for stolen phones is still non existent.

Re:No... (2)

Albanach (527650) | about 7 months ago | (#45741143)

So your IMEI database has every GSM network in the world? Or do tourists have to register their phones before they can roam? What about tourists who want a prepaid SIM for the duration of their stay - do they now need to register their physical phone too? If you drop your phone and break the screen, you can't just take the SIM out and put it in another GSM phone, you need a different working phone to call your carrier and have that phone added to this white list?

Re:No... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 7 months ago | (#45741287)

If the source of the list is all the IMEI numbers issued to manufacturers, then probably yes, they do have all the numbers in the world.

Anyway, if a tourist roams onto a foreign GSM network, the phone calls home to authenticate on its home telco's Home Location Register.

Re:No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741317)

So your DNS database has every hostname in the world? Or do tourists have to register their servers before they can serve? What about tourists who want a quick, temporary game server for the evening - do they now need to register their hostname too? If you replace your server with a faster one, you can't just take the hostname and apply it to the new hardware, you need a different computer to update your DNS entry and have that server added to DNS?

Analogied that for you. (Anyone wanna try a car analogy?)

Even scarier than hackers (1)

mi (197448) | about 7 months ago | (#45741221)

This would be a good way to kill any phone — not just a stolen one. The phone company could do this upon contract expiration, for example. Government will be able to do it to criminals on the run (or even to mere suspects)...

Re:Even scarier than hackers (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 7 months ago | (#45741401)

If your phone dying is that scary to you, you must have the world's most unscary life. Anyway the government could simply order your service revoked already. Phone companies have other measures already and you should've had the sense to buy an unlocked phone.

Re:No... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 months ago | (#45741299)

But beyond the idea that eventually hackers would find a path around such measures, it also opens the door to abuse by ÃoeLaw EnforcementÃ, who are notoriously unable to police themselves from both breaking the law and abusing the privileges they have been given.

Depends. the iOS 7 kill switch seems fairly effective - though it has an interesting side effect -some people have "found" lost phones and being locked out, gives them no way to actually return the phone.

And why would law enforcement want to kill your phone? If they're after you, they won't want to kill a very useful surveillance and tracking device that leads them to your location. And if you believe the hype, the ability to turn on the microphone and camera. Why would they want to disable that ability?

OK, maybe to go after cellphone bombs. Maybe. But since they could just turn off the tower in the first place... and the terrorists could wire it up so if the phone loses signal...

Either way, law enforcement wanting to disable it seems mighty unlikely given how useful it is to be able to use a currently active one for surveillance.

Watch (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 7 months ago | (#45740567)

The crackers will figure out how to trigger the remote kill switch without your authorization, bricking thousands if not millions of phones.

Or the goobernmint will...

Re:Watch (4, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 7 months ago | (#45740651)

Think that's morel likely. Next Occupy confrontation, suddenly everyone's phone stops working.

Re:Watch (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 months ago | (#45740749)

Think that's morel likely. Next Occupy confrontation, suddenly everyone's phone stops working.

They already have secret wireless networks in most major cities.

Wouldn't put it past them.

Re:Watch (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45740827)

They aren't going to kill cell phones for such an event.
First they would have to know the phone number of each participant, and if they had that information they would learn more by simply tapping the phone.

If they wanted to shut it down, they would do what the Secret Service does.
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-02-01/news/36806310_1_jam-signals-cellantenna-federal-agencies [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Watch (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45741125)

Well, jamming is not an option in occupy Wall Street. Just imagine the damage to the economy if the spongers inside couldn't make phone calls.

Re:Watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741199)

I don't know, about as bad as the spongers on the outside going after the spongers on the inside? I think its a stand off...

Re:Watch (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#45740667)

The crackers will figure out how to trigger the remote kill switch without your authorization, bricking thousands if not millions of phones.

Or the goobernmint will...

Incoming text: Send me $100 dollars or I'll freeze your phone.

Re:Watch (2)

theNetImp (190602) | about 7 months ago | (#45740721)

all the government has to do is turn off the cell towers. A kill switch is a mute point.

Re:Watch (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#45740743)

all the government has to do is turn off the cell towers. A kill switch is a mute point.

I see what you did there.

Re:Watch (4, Interesting)

maliqua (1316471) | about 7 months ago | (#45740949)

except the kill switch could also disable video recording and picture taking. quickly followed by loud yells in the background "stop resisting stop resisting"

Re:Watch (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45741089)

Pessimist! You mean other governments could learn from the Arab spring?

Re:Watch (2)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45740769)

The crackers will figure out how to trigger the remote kill switch without your authorization, bricking thousands if not millions of phones.

Or the goobernmint will...

The government wants to track you, and record your calls, and your cell phone makes that easy.
Why would they decide to kill that when it is worth so much more to them when its working?

Re:Watch (5, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about 7 months ago | (#45741103)

Logical fallacy. The Government having one form of control does not indicate that they don't want more. The concepts of dominance are not new, please stop trying to ignore them.

Re:Watch (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45741145)

Counter question: Why should they turn down the opportunity for even more control?

There are times when you not being able to make a call is more valuable than tracking you and listening to you. If I know where you are, and if I know that you will most likely just call for support, my primary goal turns to you not being able to do that.

So, (1, Funny)

Andrio (2580551) | about 7 months ago | (#45740571)

It has come to this.

Re:So, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740615)

It has come to this.

No, we've always known you've always been an idiot.

Re:So, (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#45740679)

It has come to this.

Quite so. Quite so.

Re:So, (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45741191)

Oh c'mon, xkcd killed that phrase. Here's a new one for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qYbVQu7YAQ [youtube.com]

Bookmark it. It's incredibly valuable in any kind of geek discussion. Not only does it fit nearly any time, people will for some odd reason think that you actually got something to say.

And the other uses for this are? (5, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | about 7 months ago | (#45740577)

Very uaseful for law enforcement to kill the smartphones of anyone they consider problematic, like leaders of streets protests or occupy movements.

Re:And the other uses for this are? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740677)

Occupy movements? Those jackasses did nothing for their cause by opening their mouths... in fact the more they talked the more harm they did themselves.

Turn off their phones? They're more likely to GIVE those retards phones, bullhorns, and broadcast time so they can give them enough rope to hang themselves and can further expose how idiotic they are.

Re:And the other uses for this are? (4, Insightful)

TehZorroness (1104427) | about 7 months ago | (#45741027)

Funny how the propaganda machine skews things. I bet you never visited a camp and actually talked to the people... naa. You probably just listened to a bunch of phony reporters on TV talking shit, combined with cherry-picked sound bites. I spent two weeks sleeping on the sidewalk of Manhattan starting on September 17th, while working full time over in Jersey. I'll be the first to tell you, there was a share of people who are a little bit loony, but you'll find them at any protest. On the other hand, I've never met so many people who were in touch with what is going on in our country and in our world. Compared to the average American slob who does nothing but work, shop, and watch TV, these people actually saw the world for what it was, were disgusted, and were willing to make sacrifices to get out and find concensus among their fellow citizens and discuss the real problems our society faces and try to improve things. If you think that is counter-productive, I hope you like what you get for sitting on your ass and doing nothing until election day when you get to choose which lying bastard you want to get blamed for all the bad things that happen to you while the real crooks get away with murder behind the veil.

Re:And the other uses for this are? (2, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about 7 months ago | (#45741161)

Glad to see that propaganda works so well. If the TV box told you it was true, it must be true. Never check any facts, including literature and political leaders of these groups. Just believe that picture box!

dumbass

Accessory before the fact (-1, Troll)

RichMan (8097) | about 7 months ago | (#45740599)

Current manufactures should be charged as accessories before the fact for all cell phone thefts and any personal assaults related to that for not enabling this feature a long time ago.

Re:Accessory before the fact (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740691)

Thinking like yours is part of the problem in this country.

Re:Accessory before the fact (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740715)

Flamebait, pure and simple.

Re:Accessory before the fact (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 7 months ago | (#45740929)

Agreed! Add to the list car, laptop, stereo, television, tablet, shoe and cheeseburger manufacturers!

Demand a kill switch for any purchasable device which can be stolen... now where did I put my pen so I can write my Congressperson... wait it's gone! If only it had a kill switch!

clarification for the lazy please (1)

deconfliction (3458895) | about 7 months ago | (#45740607)

I don't want to bother RTFA, so can someone tell me- in this future, will the user (cough *owner*) of the hardware have the option of disabling this functionality? Perhaps with some long code the user files away if they ever want to disable it, or throws away/shreds if they plan on never disabling it (and preventing all future owners from being able to disable it)?

Re:clarification for the lazy please (1)

Gallomimia (1415613) | about 7 months ago | (#45740711)

Positively no mention of such a feature. Also, the article cites that a certain lawmaker who has been on this warpath for a long time is doing the proposing:

The bill will be introduced by Senator Mark Leno, a Democrat representing San Francisco and neighboring towns, and George GascA3n, the district attorney for San Francisco. GascA3n has been spearheading a push by major law-enforcement agencies across the U.S. for more to be done to prevent smartphone theft.

Canada has similar (5, Informative)

trainman (6872) | about 7 months ago | (#45740633)

We went a similar but different direction in Canada, rather than killing the phone there's a list of IMEIs for stolen phones, and all carriers will honour not allowing phones in the database on to their networks. Which this solution sounds little less onerous than re-engineering every handset OS to have this kill ability.

Also the phone doesn't actually have to be turned on to be blacklisted, how often will you send the "kill" pings out when stolen? Would a thief simply have to wait a few weeks until the heat dies down?

We have devices that register with networks when activated, isn't it far easier to wait for that event than to try and push a command to a phone that may never be turned on again?

Reference:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/stolen-phones-blacklist-launches-in-canada-1.1873674 [www.cbc.ca]

Re:Canada has similar (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 7 months ago | (#45740725)

Right, exactly, which makes me wonder if there isn't some other purpose to this bill.

Re:Canada has similar (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 7 months ago | (#45740927)

Like extending the government's Internet Kill Switch to cell phones...

Re:Canada has similar (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 7 months ago | (#45741193)

Well, yeah.

Re:Canada has similar (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 7 months ago | (#45740783)

What surprises me is - this same IMEI blacklist is already in use in the USA. At the very least, AT&T uses it.

Re:Canada has similar (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 7 months ago | (#45740897)

I think they may only use this to blacklist phones with overdue bills, and also there would be nothing stopping someone from putting a T-Mobile SIM in.

Re:Canada has similar (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#45740995)

You can use another carriers SIM if all you want is voice, text and edge. 2G and newer are generally frequency locked to your carrier. The exception are multi-band phones, which you never get from a carrier.

Re:Canada has similar (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 7 months ago | (#45741311)

They blacklist the SIM if your account is overdue, or is a pre-pay account with no credit on it.

Re:Canada has similar (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#45740917)

The key point of the poster to whom you responded was that in Canada, *ALL* carriers use it... which is what makes it effective. If only certain carriers use it, even if only the smallest ones do not, then it's effectiveness is largely neutralized.

Re:Canada has similar (2)

DaHat (247651) | about 7 months ago | (#45740963)

How widely are those lists shared (hint: not much)? I don't mean between carriers in a given country, but internationally.

So I report my brand new XYZ as stolen to my carrier... even if 100% blocked here, there are still ~190 other countries where it can be sold & used.

Re:Canada has similar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741063)

tmobile and att both blacklist phones in the U.S. (i've seen it first hand)

tmobile phones will just stop working one day, and say limited service

Re:Canada has similar (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about 7 months ago | (#45740993)

Stolen phones are often shipped out of the country.

Re:Canada has similar (1)

Larry_Dillon (20347) | about 7 months ago | (#45741151)

I think a lot of the stolen handsets end up overseas.

What could go wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740647)

What could go wrong?

Sent from my iPho

Too much communism and marxism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740657)

Kill yourself, Mark Leno.

Re:Too much communism and marxism (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#45740693)

Kill yourself, Mark Leno.

No, you need to blame the idiots who are so cavalier with their phones. I'm amazed how many I find on trails or in the middle of roads.

Better to track (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 7 months ago | (#45740683)

More likely to be abused by authorities/criminals. Surely what'd be better is when you see your phone's gone missing, log in to itunes/google and track it. Get a key to hand other to law enforcement to let them track it and have permission to do what's needed. They track it, find out who's currently got the phone, and arrest them or find out who they bought it from and arrest them.

Person who got phone stolen gets their phone back.
Person who stole it gets arrested, and often with other stolen items.
Thieves learn it's not worth stealing these phones as they'll get caught
People won't buy suspected stolen phones as they know they won't get to keep them
Longer term solution to fix the problem than kill switching them.

Re:Better to track (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 7 months ago | (#45740975)

Personally, I think the police have far more important things to do than track your cell phone and recover it. If not, then you need less cops. I mean, they didn't care about the thousands of dollars worth of stuff robbed from my apartment, or expensive tools stole from my truck, why should they care about your cheaper cell phone?

Get insurance on your phone, fuck the police.

What worries me... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 7 months ago | (#45740707)

...are scenarios other than theft where the government might find it prudent to trip the kill switch on one or more cell phones. If mine is stolen, I'd rather just get another one.

I mean, is this a thing? Is cell phone theft so rampant and costly that mandatory kill switches are a viable solution?

Re:What worries me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740945)

I mean, is this a thing? Is cell phone theft so rampant and costly that mandatory kill switches are a viable solution?

Apparently 1/2 of all personal effects robberies reported in San Francisco involve cell phones. Across the US that number falls to about 1/3. That's a pretty high ratio. Also, according to NYC crime statistics, cell phone theft rose 40% in 2012. Many of the thefts in NYC were muggings and involved violence (including a few stabbings).

Re:What worries me... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45741231)

No surprise there. Take someone's wallet and you get what? 20? 50? Maybe if you're really, really lucky, 100 bucks.

Take his smartphone and you got at least 100 bucks worth of loot to sell.

Re:What worries me... (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 7 months ago | (#45741359)

I just wonder if kill switches will help the matter, or if iPhones will just be parted out. Just the screen is $175, and that is on eBay because Apple doesn't have replacements yet. The other components will also be useful, be it the rest of the case, speaker, battery, etc.

Even if the device is completely and utterly bricked, either by a remote erase command (and not able to be activated due to needing the AppleID), or via the GSM/LTE network, the fence who gets the phone will be able to make at least $200 from each stolen device, perhaps far more. There are a lot of iPhone screen repair shops, and one can never know for sure if the screen was purchased from an honest source, or if the screen came from a request reinforced with a knife at the throat. At the right price, the customer wouldn't care. Plus, there are no serial numbers on screens either.

I really do not think blocking iPhones will make a dent in theft. It sure didn't lower the amount of thefts when Apple put in the iOS 7 feature where part of activation was entering in the old AppleID.

Federal Communication Commision (4, Interesting)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 7 months ago | (#45740719)

Federal Communication Commision regulates cell phones. Federal law preempts state law. Any California law could be nulified by the FCC.

Re:Federal Communication Commision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740901)

No, the Federal Communications Commission regulates the airwaves, and only regulates the phones as far as their standards for intentional radiators - to ensure proper use of those airwaves.

This falls far outside the purview of the FCC.

Re:Federal Communication Commision (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45741243)

Does the FCC know? Sometimes it seems they only have a very hazy idea where their boundaries are and when they overstep them...

Re:Federal Communication Commision (2)

DM9290 (797337) | about 7 months ago | (#45740985)

Federal Communication Commision regulates cell phones. Federal law preempts state law. Any California law could be nulified by the FCC.

Federal Law only pre-empts state law when there is a contradiction. Is there a federal law that specifically says cell phones must not have a remote killswitch?

Re:Federal Communication Commision (2)

DaHat (247651) | about 7 months ago | (#45741007)

Riiiight.

So every state based EPA is nullified by the existence of the federal EPA?

No... California can (and often does say) "in order to sell X within this state, you must meet the following requirements..."

More often than not you hear of "California emissions" compliance, or even a label on a laptop charger that says "this product contains lead, a substance that is known to the government of California to cause birth defects".

Alas, many states do the same... and so long as they don't run counter federal law they can and will do it.

No Go (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#45740723)

So, who has control over this "kill switch?"

Because if the answer is anything other than "you, the person who owns the device, and nobody else," then you can go ahead and shove that kill-switch up your corn-shooter.

Re:No Go (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 7 months ago | (#45741133)

I don't know who's supposed to have that control, but I sure will find how to hack it via bluetooth or Wifi!
Just enough reach for the cars around mine.

Re:No Go (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45741253)

You own a cellphone? Really? Please inform me of the magical phone and carrier where this is possible!

Oh great, now what am I going to do? (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 7 months ago | (#45740765)

I had millions of "KILL YOUR SMARTPHONE" bumper stickers ready to ship. Now what?

Re:Oh great, now what am I going to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741293)

Offtopic: You do realise the correct term is "For all intents and purposes"? Don't you? Did I just get whooshed?

Business (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 7 months ago | (#45740797)

This is going to put all those "Cash for Your Stolen Phone" places out of business. I guess we'll just have to make due with the "Cash for Your Stolen Gold" places.

Re:Business (0)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#45740983)

If it was stolen from you, then how is it that you have it to sell?

Re:Business (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#45741099)

If it was stolen from you, then how is it that you have it to sell?

Big ol' Whoo-

Hey! That fucker stole the rest of my whoosh!

Damn you, Princeofcups!

We are very sorry... (3, Insightful)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 7 months ago | (#45740861)

...but the foo cell phone contains a component, which violates one of our patents. Therefore we demand, that all foo cell phones are disabled immediately.

Of course, this will be abused (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 7 months ago | (#45740875)

As usual, under the guise of "protecting consumers" or "it's for our own safety," government is giving itself a bit more power over the peasant class.

Imagine! (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 7 months ago | (#45740895)

Imagine California passed another ill-conceived, over-reaching, meddlesome law ... and nobody obeyed it.

Imagine!

Not needed. (2)

godel_56 (1287256) | about 7 months ago | (#45740933)

In Australia they just have a list of stolen phones distributed to the carriers, and they block the phone from network access based on the phone's IMEI.

Re:Not needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741153)

In Australia they just have a list of stolen phones distributed to the carriers, and they block the phone from network access based on the phone's IMEI.

Yes but that would make logical sense.
There's a couple drawbacks to that solution, to be honest, but they are far more minor than the obvious problems with the kill-switch approach. For one, phones can still be sold out of country (although I suspect that's a VERY small market for stolen phones). For another, many phones currently don't have a built-in ID, it's contained on a removable chip so a thief could just swap it out or remove it entirely. So if anything, maybe we should mandate a non-removable unique ID for each phone, a government registry of phones which have been reported lost/stolen, and a law mandating carriers NOT allow listed phones to be activated.

If you want remote brick capability, it's already available if the consumer wishes to setup such mechanisms. I see no need to add a system-level function under control of the cell companies or any law enforcement with one of those fake mobile cell beacons.

Ummmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45740979)

What happens when a network is hacked and some hacker sends the kill signal to millions of smart phones?

Re:Ummmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741113)

Well, if you're too dense to logically follow your own statement, I'm not going to help you.

Did we already forget... (5, Interesting)

Taelron (1046946) | about 7 months ago | (#45741041)

Its already possible to do, but the Phone companies do NOT want to do this. They make money off you buying a new phone and the selling coverage to the user of your lost/stolen phone.

There was an article about this less than a month ago in the huffington post... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/iphone-kill-switch_n_4308924.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Too easy to kill all (2)

slapout (93640) | about 7 months ago | (#45741085)

UPDATE PhoneList
SET KillPhoneIndicator = "Y"

Oops. Forgot the WHERE clause

Ulterior motivation? (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about 7 months ago | (#45741101)

Dare I hope that this law will contain specific text prohibiting service providers from abusing this for contract issues or nonpayment? Naaaah, that would be asking too much of our corporate overlords and their paid^H^H^H^Helected cronies....

wait 3 years 'til the phones cost nothing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741109)

Plain stupid

In 3 years the phones will cost nothing so there will be no reason to steal a phone [*]
What will matters would be data on those phone.
Kill switch will be the perfect target for hackers/terrorists.

[*] Of course there still will be phone with a fruit logo on it that would still cost $$$$. But who cares ? If that matters we could force all vendors to adopt the same logo to confuse the thieves.

An Easy Way (1)

The_Star_Child (2660919) | about 7 months ago | (#45741165)

to quash dissent?

Really? (1)

ACE209 (1067276) | about 7 months ago | (#45741207)

Is cell phone theft so rampant in california so they HAVE to step in with legislation? I don't get this.

Re:Really? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 7 months ago | (#45741347)

Half of all muggings apparently. Probably not any higher than other places though.

Please STOP MANDATING stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741297)

My phone could be stolen 5 times unrecovered and I still would not want this mandate.

People will work day and night (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45741337)

To kill the phone of the people they dont like.

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