Back in February, Scott talked about the possible wireless kill switch that was heading to Congress. On our show we weighed out the pros and cons, with the conclusion being that it was probably just a way for the government to have more control in our lives. Either way, the state of California Senate has approved such a measure in a smartphone kill-switch bill.
The bill, SB962, would require that smartphones sold in the state would come installed with some kind of theft detection software. This would apply to any smartphones manufactured after July 1st, 2015 and would not apply to tablets or any other electronic devices.
Interestingly enough, this same bill was rejected on April 24th but is now approved. All that's left is for the California Assembly and California's Governor Jerry Brown to approve it. Both parties have previously said they'd OK the proposal. The bill cleared the Senate 26-8 and only needed 21 of the 40 members to vote "yes."
The decision to push forward with the bill comes after a reported rise in smartphone theft, especially in California. However as we've mentioned before, it will still be a difficult feat to recover GSM devices, even after a kill-switch would be installed, due to the inability to tie a device down to a SIM card.
As far as penalties and liabilities are concerned, that filled up most of the conversation on the senate floor during the voting process. It was concluded that retailers would be at fault for selling devices without the software installed and that the fine would range somewhere between $500 and $2,500. Senator Mark Wyland opposed this pointing of the finger, citing simple shipping errors as reason. "It's a big burden on a retailer of anything, that they have complete control over everything they sell," he said.
All of this really doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, but it does seem perfectly fitting for the state of California, considering the long list of unusual legislation in the state. What do you make of all of this? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.
*In accordance with California Proposition 65, this post may contain traces of lead, which is known to the state of California to cause birth defects or reproductive toxicity.