Big news out of California this evening, as the state now officially has a law that will eventually require all smartphones to have a remote “kill switch.”
The bill, which is SB 962, requires that any smartphone manufactured after July 1, 2015 include a feature that will render “essential features” of the device inoperable when it’s not in the possession of an authorized user. These requirements won’t apply to phones that are resold or held as collateral on a loan. Additionally, phones that are made before January 1, 2015, that can’t be retrofitted with a kill switch are exempt.
Users can choose to disable or opt out of this kill switch at any time. If the kill switch is in place and a person knowingly sells a phone that’s in violation of the requirements, that person will face a fine of between $500 and $2500 for each violation.
Some phones already have a sort of kill switch baked in, but with this new law, all smartphones launched in California after July 2015 will need to have this feature included. It’s kind of a bummer that this law doesn’t apply to all mobile devices, including tablets, but it’s certainly a start.