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.
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.