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.
At work. Really? Legislating cell phone antitheft technology? When it already EXISTS for every freaking platform?
I'm normally very pro-government but this is stupid, ridiculous, and redundant.
It actually reminds me a bit of "The Clipper Chip" (90s censorware tech).
The crime rate related to smart phone theft is ridiculously high in larger cities. Requiring this feature to be present and to be easily accessible by the phone owner would tank the market for reselling stolen phones. Smaller resale market would result in fewer thefts.
Spending "tax dollars" on this legislation would reduce the number of "tax dollars" spent on dealing with these crimes (from taking initial police reports, to making arrests, to prosecutions and trials, and finally to incarceration). Sometimes removing the target of crimes is a good investment.
I disagree. Different AC here. If people want to spend more money for "smarter", more NSA-friendly smartphones, then let them. But people should also be able to choose cheaper, less NSA-friendly smartphones that have no mandated kill switch if they want. I don't want any kill switch. If the argument is simply "it's cheaper to do X than Y", then we should outlaw many, many things, because they can just be stolen, and that creates more work for cops, etc., which I don't think is a reasonable argument. I'd rather have the freedom to choose. The economic advantages of requiring by law this feature and outlawing all other phones are very debatable, and should not be the sole reason to outlaw phones without a kill switch.
Have you ever had your smart phone stolen?
Have you ever had your freedom stolen?
As an American, I feel like my freedom has been stolen under Eminent Domain, and rented back to me through the "generosity" of our corporate overlords, and is subject to cancellation at any time.
But then, I'm one of those crazy people that doesn't have an addiction to "reality" TV or MMO video games. Your mileage may vary.
What would that have to do with anything?
It's devastating to know that all your personal information is in the hands of a stranger. Email, photos, Dropbox. I wanted a kill switch when that happened.
Y5hwb1 http://www.qs3pe5zgdxc9iovktapt2dbyppkmkqfz.com/ [qs3pe5zgdxc9iovktapt2dbyppkmkqfz.com]
So why isn't the legislation demanded for cars? Trucks? Computers/laptops/netbooks/chromebooks/tablets?
Let's make sure EVERY consumer good has a"kill switch" then. We're very close to enabling Internet-of-things attachments for every physical device, so let's make it easy to fry everything on demand...
In other words, this idea sucks. And I was starting to get swayed by your argument too.
(original AC, yo)
The reasons to do this are not to save money. I was just addressing the "taxpayer dollars" portion of your sentiment (the part that you put right in the title).
There is no comparison between the number of armed or forceful thefts of "cars? Trucks? Computers/laptops/netbooks/chromebooks/tablets?" and that of smart phones. The rapid rise of these crimes has garnered enough attention that the CA legislature proposed the bill. Big, bad "government regulation" isn't the solution to most things, and may not be the ultimate solution to these types of crimes. But heaven forbid that some portion of one of the many useless parts of government is actually trying to take action with the best interests of its citizens' safety in mind and we lambast them.
Is this a great idea? No. But neither is "if I can find any flaw in any idea then nothing should ever be done, ever!" Many of our cars already have GPS systems that can broadcast our location, and some even have kill switches.
The whole OMG! NSA! PONIES! argument is weak too. If the NSA wanted to kill your phone they would have the carrier deactivate your SIM card. Going into any local phone store to get a new one would just let them know where to pick you up at that very moment. But they already know where you are by tracking you via your phone, and they'd much rather listen to your calls and read your texts/email than to kill your phone.
The crime rate related to smart phone theft is ridiculously high in larger cities.
This should never be done on a state by state basis. It should be done at the national level, or not at all. Seriously, which phone manufacturer is going to make a California Model?
But first and foremost, the legislation must, absolutely MUST, be only in the hands of the owner, and not the police. This is just too easy to abuse. Want to shut down a rally, or a protest? Kill all the phones.
You're right, it shouldn't be done state by state. I'm sure California's intention was to force manufactures to do it to all phones in order to comply with California's law.
As far as shutting down a rally, in Oakland they shut down the cell service [sfgate.com] when they didn't like the protests.
Its not exactly true that they shut down cell service.
Bart shut down their own cell repeaters in stations, but not cell service on the street. Lets not exaggerate the incident beyond what it was.
But its not a phone kill switch, which would render the phone permanently unusable.
Shutting down your own cell repeaters is a far cry from damaging someone else's equipment. (Not that I would put it past some police departments to do that as well).
It should be stated, the even in the days of rotary dial phones, (70s) the phone company had mechanisms in place to shut down all phones, or selective phone in an emergency. I was touring the local exchange with a friend of mine who was relatively high up in the technical section of a major phone company.
He showed me the huge 18 foot tall racks of connections, every wire coming into the exchange went through a blue or red plastic jumper that were all lined up vertically.Each rack covered a different area. He also pointed out a long rod with a hook on the end.
He explained that in an national emergency, they would get orders via Teletype , and they were supposed to rip out all the blue jumpers with the hook, rendering those phone lines dead leaving only the red jumpers.
Incredulous, I asked if it had ever been done, and he said no. The Teletype hadn't had any paper in it for years. And they had no intentions of destroying their rack.
All thats gone now, with digital switching.
Uh-oh.. now California Law becomes Global law. Oh oops, has happened so may times already...
Sometimes removing the target of crimes is a good investment.
Wait a minute.... that's exactly what those criminals are already doing. And doing it for free, on their own initiative, no upfront investment required.
They could also spend that money reducing the incentive to commit such crimes.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/23/1264917/- An-Improbable-Solution-to-Homelessness-Arises-in-U tah-Provide-the-Homeless-With-Homes# [dailykos.com]
In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000.
So, in at least some cases, you can reduce the money spent on crime by giving that money to the criminals themselves!
even better, you can actually prevent them from ever becoming criminals by giving them money/spending it on them. in lots of places with harsh winters, lots of homeless folks intentionally commit crimes so they can ride out winter in jail; 3 hots and a cot in a warm concrete box beats freezing to death.
there's also the issue that in lots of states, if you've ever been convicted of a drug crime, you can never ever get food stamps, often forcing them to resort to crime just to eat. its disgusting.
No, it doesn't exist. The desire is for the industry (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc...) to say "Okay, your phone is stolen, so it's blacklisted." They can do that, but gee golly gosh, they don't see the dollar signs in it so they don't bother. Meanwhile people are getting mugged for their phones. "I'm normally very pro-government but this is stupid, ridiculous, and redundant."
I dunno about iPhones, but Android phones HAVE had this ability for several years. If you've got an Android phone, you can access it from android.com/DeviceManager
So in other words, we're talking about implementing the same thing they've already implemented just with an extra middle-man this time?
It's gonna take a minimum of a day for me to get it blocked through the carrier; but it only takes a few seconds for me to get it blocked myself. So what possible value could this add?
Originally I was in favor of bills like this. But then I realized the risks are greater than the benefits. It will only put a small dent in cell phone theft - it will mean that the market for stolen phones will move off-shore to countries where the cell networks don't know to block the stolen phone's ID.
Meanwhile having a streamlined system for a cell-phone id block list will enable government abuse -- they could easily shut down all the cell phones in a certain area except those on a white-list. At least now if they want to shut down cell phone comms, they have to turn it off for all the phones in the cell, which means they have to equip their own people with radios (and radios that do any data other than audio are much more expensive and in limited supply).
I am always amazed at the willingness of the average American internet dweller to fight potential tyranny from the government.What amazes me is how the Europeans are always taking to the streets, and actually scare their leaders into getting what they want. They don't have absolute free speech, and in the end their version works better. /offtopic
I am glad this was voted down. In a few years this will likely be a non-issue anyway. Remember when theft of portable GPS units was a big problem? Or car stereos? As the retail price of these devices drop, so will the resale market (legal and illegal).
Yes. So if we find ourselves unable to stop one of these laws going through, we should at least demand that it expires after 5 years or so.
So, I don't get the idea of the so-called Kill Switch.
I get the idea remote wipe - have software running that can wipe the hard drive/memory.I get the idea of IMEI blacklisting.What I don't get is an alleged feature that renders the hardware "inoperable."
If the IMEI was in read-only ROM that was soldered to the board, IMEI blacklisting would be MOSTLY a kill switch - the hardware wouldn't be usable unless you were really handy with a soldering iron. But it's not - IMEI's can be changed in software (for rooted phones).
I don't see how any non-hardware solution can permanently render a phone useless. Unless you're breaking a tiny acid capsule on the motherboard that damages the chips, how can any software solution "permanently render" phones inoperable?
I forsee a rise of DIFFICULT TO UNDO software "kill switches." But not UNDOABLE. Which just means there will be specialized "chop shops" resurrecting phones. The market isn't gone, just changes.
Time for CPU manufacturers to implement a proper HCF [wikipedia.org] opcode (Halt and Catch Fire). ;-)
Intel chips now have voltage regulation in the silicon, they can cook themselves. Intel has demonstrated their ability to kill their cellular enabled "anti-theft" chip remotely. Intel would like a piece of the mobile pie. This law would be great for Intel, both the company and the government's Intel agencies' openly anti-activism capabilities. [theguardian.com] Not really beneficial to anyone else though. If you want to protect your data, just encrypt the damn phone. They'll wipe the encryption key-pair on too many attempts to unlock it, thus making the data disappear. IMEI blacklists can already keep petty thieves from using the device if you report your phone stolen. We don't need governments with the ability to selectively kill phones, computers, and cars (now that black boxes are mandated for vehicles).
If a thief has my phone already, I don't care. I have insurance on the things that are important. My phone's lock screen says: "Care for Androids properly. Email R2D2@[my-website].com for help."
This close vote is terrifying. It means it'll come back up soon, and again and again until the legislation is passed since the targeted kill switch is key to making the NSA, Pentagon and Stasi wet dreams a reality. No amount of solder will help if the CPU chip itself refuses to operate. Switching to white lists where cars, computers and mobiles only work if they ping approved towers would be all too easy once that hardware kill switch is in place. Late on a bill? You can't drive or call in to work. Think XP's artificial scarcity EoL is bad? (paying folks still get updates to fix MS's code fuck-ups, but no one else will)? Just wait till the devices brick themselves to force obsolescence -- upping the ante of the standard commercial planned obsolescence racket. [archive.org] Want to report a strange black van following you after making a politically incorrect dissenting remark online? Too bad, your devices go dead, your car dies on the road, and so do you. Any risk of that far outweighs my fear of smart-phone theft.
People get hurt (or killed) in phone muggings. Reducing the chances of someone stealing your phone reduces the chances of you getting hurt. If they can't resell or use your stolen phone, they won't try to steal it. I'm all for kill switch, not just a IMEI blacklist like the one for north-america.
How is this terrifying unless you're an enemy agent, or so mentally ill that you think the scary government wants to kill your phone?
>Want to report a strange black van following you after making a politically incorrect dissenting remark online? Too bad, your devices go dead, your car dies on the road, and so do you. Any risk of that far outweighs my fear of smart-phone theft.
Mental illness it is.
How is this terrifying unless you're an enemy agent, or so mentally ill that you think the scary government wants to kill your phone?>Want to report a strange black van following you after making a politically incorrect dissenting remark online? Too bad, your devices go dead, your car dies on the road, and so do you. Any risk of that far outweighs my fear of smart-phone theft.Mental illness it is.
I'll take VortexCortex's possible mental illness combined with their technical knowledge over your shortsightedness any day of the week. You're dismissal of the _technical and tactical insight_ of someone because they are mentally ill makes your comment less worth spending time reading that VortexCortex's. For the sake of argument, let's assume you are correct, that V is both mentally ill and paranoid. These facts alone do not make the threat models they describe, nor the technical issues involved dismissable (if you take the longterm benefit of society as a value). I.e. just because - again, for the sake of argument - V's paranoid threat models and described technical tactics may in fact not be highly relevent to themself, does not mean those same threat models and technical tactics aren't possibly *invaluable* to some courageous journalist out there in the process of uncovering the next big story that tremendously benefits society at the expense of violent criminals entirely willing to shed blood to keep their current criminal profit streams flowing.
Do you really think that the U.S. government wouldn't use the kill switch feature, in exactly the ways described, if their was a next generation Snowden in the process of trying to get their data and story out to one of the very small set of journalists courageous enough to try and publish it? Of course the NSA and CIA would use the phone kill switch to terrorize some journalist that just got handed a pile of data from a future Snowden-esque leaker.
Go back to basics. Think about the fourth ammendment, versus a society that allows its police to perform random inspections of all homes as part of it's anti-terror and anti-crime tactics. The reason people (i wish all of them, but those that share my view on this) don't let the police do that sort of thing isn't because they want more terrorists and criminals to succeed. Because of course random residential home inspections would succeed in fighting legitimately harmful terrorists and criminals- the reason people like me are opposed to those police powers is because if they have them, *there will most certainly come a day when they are abused by organized criminals against journalists to keep their sufficiently secret criminal revenue stream flowing*. And a world where that is enabled thusly, scares people like me more than the legitimate benefits to society for allowing that level of police power.
Also, when the gestapo are too powerful, you will find more and more insight cloaked in art, metaphor, mixed with some amounts of insanity, and religious interwtingling. Well blended with some proportion of intentional, and unintentional partial mistakes in logic. Call it steganography, call it mental illness. I call it too valuable, and the stakes too high, to ignore and dismiss as you do.
VortexCortex has a valid point:
This happened WAY before the 'Kill Switch' issue came up.
IMEI's can be changed in software (for rooted phones).
That's what worries me about these proposed laws. Wouldn't they require users to be locked out from full control over their phones?
Even if theoretically the answer were no, I fear in practice that's what would happen. Manufacturers already have mixed feelings towards making phones rootable. With a law like this, the easiest thing to do is surely remove as much control over the phone as possible (except the officially supported features).