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.
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