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Committee Passes Phone Anti-Theft, Kill-Switch Measure—Heads To Full State Assembly

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State Sen. Mark Leno is confident a new Kill-Switch bill will pass the Senate.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— A measure that would force smartphones sold in California to include a kill switch to try to stop the epidemic of phone thefts is now headed to the full state Assembly, following its approval by an Assembly Committee.

State Senator Mark Leno brought his bill before the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce on Monday, arguing that being able to “kill” your phone if someone steals it from you, will erase the incentive for the vast majority of muggings in the Bay Area.

”Nearly all of us walking down the street with one of these devices is a sitting duck. We are a target for crime,” Leno said.

Apple, Microsoft, AT&T and Verizon all say they’re fine with the law.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Apple’s experience with its kill switch shows it works, and California needs this law, before someone is killed for their iPhone.

Committee Passes Phone Anti-Theft, Kill-Switch Measure—Heads To Full State Assembly

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“I’ve not had a death over a cell phone yet, but I literally knock on wood every day because just this weekend, we probably had 10 cellphone robberies,” Mayor Quan said.

Steve Carlson with Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)—the Wireless Association, a trade group for the wireless industry, said almost every smartphone and operating system maker is already installing the switch, voluntarily.

“The market is dealing with the issue. These are companies that haven’t been mandated to enact a kill switch. Everybody has agreed to do it, but do it in a way that is comfortable.

CTIA had previously said kill switches leave the devices open to hackers and raises privacy concerns.

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