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Proposed law could end smartphone and tablet theft once and for all

Published Feb 8th, 2014 12:30AM EST
Smartphone Tablet Theft Law

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We know that thieves have been increasingly targeting people’s smartphones and tablets for theft in recent years and the problem has gotten so bad that the New York City Police Department says that iPhone and iPad thefts alone accounted for 18% of all grand larcenies in the city last year. IDG News, via Network World, reports that legislators in California have written a bill that would require any smartphone or tablet sold in the state to come equipped with a “kill switch” that would brick the devices in the event that they’re stolen. 

IDG News says that proposed bill is incredibly vague and gives carriers and manufacturers a lot of leeway to figure out how they’ll implement kill switches.

“Carriers or phone makers will be able to design their own system in software, hardware or a combination of both, but once activated it should prevent phone calls, Internet access and the ability to run apps,” IDG News writes. “It will have to be resistant to a hard reset, attempts to return the device to factory condition or a downgrade of the operating system. Users should have the option of deactivating it if they don’t want the protection, but retailers will be banned from offering such a service.”

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at BGR.com and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.

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