Lawmakers are trying to advance a new bill into law requiring cell phone manufactures to install what is called a ‘Kill Switch’ within the Smartphone. It looks as though California may be the first state to enact this law due to a crime wave of these crimes.
It is a known fact that identity theft has been on an increase, causing sometimes months of serious headaches to straighten records out.
Many people owning Smartphones store all of their personal and private information in their Smartphone. People now store bank account numbers, credit card numbers, pin numbers, social security numbers and much more, including non-replacement of photos and phone numbers.
Theft of the Smartphone continues on the upswing and according to CBS news May 12, 2014, these thieves do not care if it is day light or nighttime, when the opportunity arises to pick up someone’s cell phone they pick it up quickly.
The news went on to say that a few citizens have chased down the thieves to get their phone back. One person had their throat slit and one thief shot a woman to death when she tried to chase him down and get her phone back. I guess the first thing a person would do is go after the person in order to get back their information.
This is human nature without thinking about the possible ramifications. However, is doing such a thing worth a life lost? Smart phones are equipped with a tracking device and cell phone owners who have experienced a theft of their cell phone are tracking the accusers and confronting them. This is putting citizens in danger of injury or death.
What this law will do is instantly make the cell phone inoperable in the event someone steals the phone or the owner losses possession of the phone accidently. Maybe the person laid their phone in a public place and forgets to pick it up or the owner unknowingly dropped their phone and lost it. More times than not cell phones are stolen when a thief sees the phone lying on a restaurant table and the owner is paying no attention to the phone.
What was also included in this law were iPads, but once lawmakers removed this particular part of the law the Apple Corporation and Microsoft agreed that a ‘Kill Switch’ could be added to all phones after July 2015. Much of the wireless industry says this law is not necessary thus oppose the law.
There are more states following California’s lead such as Minnesota, New York and Illinois. These states apparently have a different swing on the bill. These states agree to institute a similar law that also protects laptop computers and cellular-connected iPad computers. Minnesota passed their version of this new law the first part of May 2014.
Another aspect of this law are fines tacked to retailers who sell cell phones without a “Kill Switch’. Many lawmakers feel that this part of the bill needs to be eliminated because it is not the retailers at fault but the manufacturer.
Lawmaker say that they are taking steps to protect consumers and starting in 2015 consumers will be able to erase private data on their Smartphone and keep the phone from reactivation after the phone comes up missing. In order for consumers to have the ability to take this step, they would have to initiate special software on their phone.
The electronic cell phone industry says that state-by-state laws could become confusing to citizens, and the ‘Kill Switch’ should be included as a default setting on the phone.
I think this law or a similar law to include some sort of application to eliminate personal information from a citizen’s cell phone if it were stolen is becoming more necessary. This is just protecting the citizen from identity theft. It also protects the citizen from injury or death if they feel that their only option is to chase down the thief. This will not be a necessary action if the Smartphone had a switch eliminating all content of the phone and deeming the phone useless.