California's smartphone kill switch bill passes legislature, about to become law

By Himanshu Arora ยท 5 replies
Aug 12, 2014
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  1. In an effort to fight smartphone theft, California state legislators yesterday passed a bill that makes it mandatory for smartphone manufacturers to install a "kill-switch" in their phones to render them inoperable if lost or stolen. Introduced by Sen. Mark...

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  2. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    I'm gonna make it so my phone's kill switch releases deadly radiation just so anyone who tries to steal my phone knows if they do they best be ready to die of radiation.
  3. Cool story bro.

    I find this is a great thing, it will definitely reduce phone theft the same way as you don't see iPhones being targeted anymore. The only downside is who and under which circumstances could kill your phone.
  4. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 718   +236

    This is downright ridiculous.

    The "kill switch" should be on the carrier side to deny registration of any IMEI that's been reported stolen.
    There is no need to install expensive extra's into the handset itself.

    Also the stolen and bricked phones will still be sold online and when you get it, it wont work and the seller mysteriously would be gone.

    Also how excatly wil lthis work, if its a software program the phone could just be booted into factory mode and wiped (android anyways) or alternative rom installed without the killswitch app.
    If its a hardware fuse type thing that blows and bricks the device no one wins, thieves are often not the smartest bunch and will still steal phones without realizing they will become useless.

    Giant waste of money is all it is. What works much better is a national blacklist so stolen phones cannot be registered on networks.
  5. You can't 'switch' radiation. Not unless your phone has a lead shield around it that opens up as the kill-switch. Otherwise you will be dead of radiation poisoning long before the thief of your phone is. As an alternative, you could have a taser built into the phone to electrocute your pick pocketing perpetrators.
  6. I'm guessing problems will be: a) if it's not a real kill switch, I.e. the phone is resuscitatable in some way by entering a password, someone will figure out how to do it via a proxy or a jailbreak or something; what technology can block, ingenuity and motivation can unblock. Even if it is a real kill switch, unless it disables a major costly part of the phone, bits will be salvaged for repairs.

    b) Crims with an IQ over 80 will immediately turn the thing off or take the sim card out or both after stealing it, then pass it on to someone who can take it from there.

    c) If it is a real kill switch, some hacker will figure out how to trigger it and 'brick' millions of phones on day 3, just 'because they can'.

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