Amended California Smartphone Kill Switch Bill Advances

Kill Switch

On a second attempt, California lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday that would require electronics manufacturers to install a shut-off function in all smartphones as a way to deter what one senator called a crime wave of thefts. The legislation by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno requires companies to produce smartphones with technology that makes them inoperable if the owner loses possession. It fell two votes short of passing the 40-member Senate two weeks ago, but Leno said amendments since then removed opposition from Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. It now applies to smartphones manufactured and sold after July 2015 and no longer includes tablets. The wireless industry, however, opposes the measure as unnecessary. “We have a crime wave sweeping our state,” Leno, who represents San Francisco, said in urging support for his bill.

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