SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The mobile phone industry has worked hard to kill State Senator Mark Leno’s kill-switch bill, which fell two votes short of passage, two weeks ago, but Leno is bringing the bill back for reconsideration on Thursday and is confident it will pass.
With Apple announcing that they’ve dropped opposition to the bill clears the way for lawmakers to reconsider their votes on a re-worked bill that would render stolen phones useless. Apple had previously fought fiercely to keep California from requiring the switch and had previously said it wanted consumers to be able to opt-in on the function.
“Apple is now neutral on the bill, so the wall of opposition from the industry is now seriously cracked,” Leno said.
Some changes to Leno’s bill include limiting the bill to just smartphones as opposed to smartphones and tablets. In addition, the deadline for the implementation date has been extended from January to July 2015.
Leno said being able to shut off a lost or stolen phone should curtail the epidemic of phone theft, which accounts for more than half the robberies in the Bay Area.
The majority of the mobile communication industry argued kill switches were a privacy issue and should remain an option for the consumer, not mandatory.
Democratic State Senator Jim Beall of San Jose isn’t saying yet whether he will switch his vote from no to yes now that the biggest employer in his district, Apple, is no longer opposed.