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posted by Woods on Friday April 25 2014, @02:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the my-favorite-kind-of-switch dept.

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 April 25 2014, @02:57PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25 2014, @02:57PM (#36110)

    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).

  • (Score: 2) by Horse With Stripes on Friday April 25 2014, @03:48PM

    by Horse With Stripes (577) on Friday April 25 2014, @03:48PM (#36137)

    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.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25 2014, @04:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25 2014, @04:37PM (#36166)

      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.

      • (Score: 1) by timbim on Friday April 25 2014, @06:25PM

        by timbim (907) on Friday April 25 2014, @06:25PM (#36241)

        Have you ever had your smart phone stolen?

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by clone141166 on Friday April 25 2014, @07:00PM

          by clone141166 (59) on Friday April 25 2014, @07:00PM (#36260)

          Have you ever had your freedom stolen?

          • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Saturday April 26 2014, @08:16PM

            by etherscythe (937) on Saturday April 26 2014, @08:16PM (#36695) Journal

            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.

            --
            "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26 2014, @07:03AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26 2014, @07:03AM (#36518)

          What would that have to do with anything?

          • (Score: 1) by timbim on Sunday April 27 2014, @04:55PM

            by timbim (907) on Sunday April 27 2014, @04:55PM (#36900)

            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.

      • (Score: 2) by Horse With Stripes on Friday April 25 2014, @07:06PM

        by Horse With Stripes (577) on Friday April 25 2014, @07:06PM (#36266)
        It's not about saving money, and the NSA can (and does) already track you by your phone. Rather than re-post it, this addresses parts of your post [soylentnews.org].
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04 2014, @01:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04 2014, @01:29PM (#101677)

        Y5hwb1 http://www.qs3pe5zgdxc9iovktapt2dbyppkmkqfz.com/ [qs3pe5zgdxc9iovktapt2dbyppkmkqfz.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25 2014, @06:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25 2014, @06:00PM (#36227)

      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)

      • (Score: 2) by Horse With Stripes on Friday April 25 2014, @07:03PM

        by Horse With Stripes (577) on Friday April 25 2014, @07:03PM (#36262)

        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.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday April 25 2014, @08:17PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 25 2014, @08:17PM (#36317) Journal

      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.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by Horse With Stripes on Friday April 25 2014, @08:57PM

        by Horse With Stripes (577) on Friday April 25 2014, @08:57PM (#36343)

        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.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday April 25 2014, @09:38PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 25 2014, @09:38PM (#36364) Journal

          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.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 2) by Horse With Stripes on Friday April 25 2014, @09:44PM

            by Horse With Stripes (577) on Friday April 25 2014, @09:44PM (#36368)
            True, they didn't shut down all cell service, only the cell service where the people where protesting (in the stations). Which specifically addresses your "Want to shut down a rally, or a protest? Kill all the phones." comment.
            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday April 25 2014, @10:57PM

              by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 25 2014, @10:57PM (#36399) Journal

              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.

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26 2014, @09:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26 2014, @09:18AM (#36534)

          Uh-oh.. now California Law becomes Global law. Oh oops, has happened so may times already...

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday April 25 2014, @11:48PM

      by c0lo (156) on Friday April 25 2014, @11:48PM (#36424) Journal

      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.
      (grin)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Saturday April 26 2014, @01:50AM

      by urza9814 (3954) on Saturday April 26 2014, @01:50AM (#36455) Journal

      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.

      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]

      Key point:

      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!

      • (Score: 2) by tathra on Sunday April 27 2014, @02:20AM

        by tathra (3367) on Sunday April 27 2014, @02:20AM (#36757)

        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.

  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Friday April 25 2014, @07:24PM

    by Tork (3914) on Friday April 25 2014, @07:24PM (#36280)
    "At work. Really? Legislating cell phone antitheft technology? When it already EXISTS for every freaking platform?"

    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."

    No, this is actually somethiing good* they were doing. Stupid, ridiculous, and redundant would be the California law that requires porn stars to wear condoms. This one would actually force the industry to protect their customers... an actually GoodThingTM.

    * I read some of the comments on this article and somebody made a point I want to put some serious thought-time into. He mentioned that the downside to this legislation is that it would give the Gov't a kill switch for cell phones... and we did have the recent BART-fiasco. This disclaimer is that my opinion on if it's a GoodThingTM is slowly changing, so it's only fair to mention that in this post.
    --
    Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Saturday April 26 2014, @01:56AM

      by urza9814 (3954) on Saturday April 26 2014, @01:56AM (#36456) Journal

      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

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Saturday April 26 2014, @03:06AM

        by Tork (3914) on Saturday April 26 2014, @03:06AM (#36471)
        We're talking about two different things. This bill was about the carrier blocking that specific phone after it has been reported stolen, it has nothing to do with software on the phone.
        --
        Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Tuesday April 29 2014, @08:04PM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @08:04PM (#37820) Journal

          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?

          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday April 29 2014, @08:23PM

            by Tork (3914) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @08:23PM (#37827)
            "So in other words, we're talking about implementing the same thing they've already implemented just with an extra middle-man this time?

            Nope. "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?"

            The phone would become a brick and have no resale value.. hence the need for ALL the carriers to get involved.
            --
            Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday April 29 2014, @08:29PM

            by Tork (3914) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @08:29PM (#37830)
            I apologize for the bad formatting of my post. I'll resubmit it fixed:

            "So in other words, we're talking about implementing the same thing they've already implemented just with an extra middle-man this time?

            Nope.

            "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?"

            The phone would become a brick and have no resale value.. hence the need for ALL the carriers to get involved.
            --
            Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩