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posted by martyb on Friday May 09 2014, @12:52PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong? dept.

The California Senate on Thursday voted to approve a state measure requiring smarter anti-theft security on smartphones, reversing its decision last month to reject the bill. The proposal, introduced by State Senator Mark Leno and sponsored by George Gascon, San Francisco's district attorney, requires a so-called kill switch (which would render a smartphone useless after it was stolen) on all smartphones sold in California. The bill passed with a final count of 26 to 8 in favor. It now requires approval from the California State Assembly and, eventually, California Governor Jerry Brown, who could review the bill around late August.

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California Rejects Phone "Kill Switch" Law 39 comments

The California Senate on Thursday voted down a state measure that would require smarter anti-theft security on smartphones. The bill, introduced by State Senator Mark Leno and sponsored by George Gascon, San Francisco's district attorney, would have required a so-called kill switch which would render a smartphone useless after it was stolen on all smartphones sold in California. The proposal needed 21 votes to pass in the 40-member chamber. After debate on Thursday morning at the Capitol, in Sacramento, it fell two votes short of passing, with a final count of 19 to 17 in favor.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 09 2014, @12:55PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 09 2014, @12:55PM (#41225)

    Extra points will be given if the phone you get locked belongs to a Big Politico or a Fat Banker.

  • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday May 09 2014, @01:06PM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday May 09 2014, @01:06PM (#41228) Homepage

    Ruh-roh. Time to hurry up and buy a NOS (New-Old Stock) dumbphone for when my Samsung craps out. But perhaps there is hope. From the article:

    " It now requires approval from the California State Assembly and, eventually, California Governor Jerry Brown, who could review the bill around late August. "

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GlennC on Friday May 09 2014, @01:07PM

    by GlennC (3656) on Friday May 09 2014, @01:07PM (#41229)

    I can see where this may be useful in protecting the data on the device should it be stolen.

    However, I don't see it being useful in reducing theft of phones. As I understand it, most stolen phones are either re-flashed and sold on the grey market or parted out.

    It's typical political action...."Something needs to be done. This is something, therefore it needs to be done!"

    --
    Sorry folks...the world is bigger and more varied than you want it to be. Deal with it.
    • (Score: 3) by Hairyfeet on Friday May 09 2014, @04:52PM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday May 09 2014, @04:52PM (#41314) Journal

      As someone whose shop is about 10 miles from the projects I can tell you that is EXACTLY what is happening to the phones, they are being sold to repair shops who gut them for screens and cases. I really wish politicians would talk to somebody with actual insight when it comes to the subject at hand because this is only gonna make things worse as 1.- crackheads don't care if they can't unlock the phone, every buck they can get is more dope so they are better off than they were before they stole the phone, 2.- Phones are the easiest things to conceal so no shit crackheads gonna steal them, same goes for tablets and any other easy to pocket electronics like iPods, 3.- I can already see at least one way this could be VERY bad...stalkers using this to make somebody's life hell.

       

      If you have never had a stalker? Consider yourself lucky as I have and can tell you that when you get somebody mentally unbalanced like that fixated on you they will do anything to make your life hell. If my stalker could have had my phone turned off so she could "talk to me about our relationship" (which never existed except in her mind, I gave her a free drink off our bar tab and dedicated an upbeat song to her because she looked bummed and I don't like bummed people at my shows) instead of having me hit the speed dial for the local PD? She would have been all over that. Then add jealous exes (insert lovers, spouses, whatever) and just plain trolls and I can think of a lot of ways this can go bad, not any where this actually helps. And before somebody chimes in with "you could just dial 911" the cops ask you not to dial 911 if it isn't an emergency, in fact I was given a special number by the detective so the person that showed up would already be familiar with the case and know the backstory. This worked out better for both as the cops knew it wasn't a dangerous situation they were coming into and I didn't have to deal with a beat cop thinking its a "he said, she said" and instead when they showed up they automatically treated her as the stalker that she was.

      This reminds me of the "hey we'll pass a law making salvage yards report anybody bringing in large amounts of copper wire, that'll stop the crackheads!" law my state passed a few years back, all it did was increase the fires and contaminated back lots as the crackheads just threw the wire into a pile and poured some gas on it to melt off the coating and turn it into a stinking slaggy mess which they would then chop or pound with a hammer, because chopped up copper piles aren't covered, just wire and pipes.

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday May 10 2014, @04:23AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Saturday May 10 2014, @04:23AM (#41477) Homepage

        That explains the slag-and-fragments pile at the salvage yard; I wondered WTF.

        Yet I had to produce ID and sign a "what if it's stolen" form for a bunch of very obviously used wire that I pulled out of my well.

        Well, leave it to California to discover all the unintended consequences of any possible legislation!

        • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Saturday May 10 2014, @05:00AM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday May 10 2014, @05:00AM (#41491) Journal

          Yep go to any salvage yard and you'l see these nasty stinking slag piles because slag? NOT covered by the law, whereas wire and pipes are covered.

          You are never gonna solve a criminal problem by treating the symptoms, I mean how many times do we have to do the same dance. three strikes? You have homeless guys getting life for stealing a slice of pizza while drug dealers just shoot the cop because if they are gonna get life either way why not take a shot at getting away? Law against copper pipes and wires being taken to salvage yards? Poison a backlot by burning the shit and pounding it with a hammer and its not wire or pipes anymore is it? Hell look at the cellphone thing, it'd be easy enough for the carriers to simply look at the serial and spot the stolen phones showing up like a sore thumb but they don't, why? because the majority aren't getting sold as a "psst wanna buy a phone?" deal, some crackhead sells it to an illegal who cranks out the out of area calls and when the phone gets shut off they sell it to some shop that strips it for parts.

          --
          ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
  • (Score: 1) by EQ on Friday May 09 2014, @01:54PM

    by EQ (1716) on Friday May 09 2014, @01:54PM (#41242)

    A legislator and a DA making fundamental engineering decisions? Wrong on so many levels. There is the base technical consideration they seem to have overlooked (at least publicly): Remote bricking a phone, what could possibly go wrong? Did it not occur to them that somebody will figure out a hack that allows access to trigger the "stolen" functionality - and when the skriptkiddies get hold of it, they start bricking phones. I can hope they start with the idiots who proposed and voted for this lunacy. Have these idiots any clue about reality. and the engineering science of reliability and our communication networks/devices? We worked hard to get these system stable and reliable, and these idiot politicians want to deliberately build-in a fatal malfunction, for their convenience in prosecuting crimes? Madness.

    This might not simply be about stolen phones. Think about politicians - what do they want? Control. If you want to silence an opponent, but not permanently? Brick his smart phone - loses time, connectivity, and possibly even loses valuable (unsync'd) data. Imagine some politician doesn't like a flash mob that's rumored to be brewing for a rally - so before it can build, she (via whatever channel) bricks the phones of the leaders - or of political opponents. The possibilities of abusing this for targeted and timely DOS, and use as a tool for repression of communication are worrisome.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday May 09 2014, @04:40PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Friday May 09 2014, @04:40PM (#41307)

      I am still waiting for all the On-Star cars to just die simultaneously one day.
      I'm highly surprised that nobody has hacked it yet. There aren't disgruntled employees at GM suppliers?

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday May 10 2014, @04:25AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Saturday May 10 2014, @04:25AM (#41478) Homepage

      I predict a serious uptick in the smartphone business in every town just over the state line, wherever someone can claim a temporary address and get an out-of-state phone.