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California signs smartphone 'kill switch' bill into law

Posted on Aug 26 2014 | IANS

New York, Aug 26 : California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a crucial bill into law that empowers smartphone users with a 'kill switch' in case their device is stolen.

According to the bill, all smartphones manufactured after July 1, 2015 to be sold in California should have a technological solution to "render the essential features of the smartphone inoperable when not in the possession of the authorised user".

It means that all smartphones sold in California would prompt the user to enable the wiping feature upon initial setup.

According to the bill, "The smartphone shall, during the initial device setup process, prompt an authorised user to enable the technological solution".

"The technological solution shall be reversible, so that if an authorised user obtains possession of the smartphone after the essential features of the smartphone have been rendered inoperable, the operation of those essential features can be restored by an authorised user," it said.

It also envisages a civil penalty of USD 500-USD 2,500 be levied per smartphone if someone is found to be selling stolen phones.

All major players like Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung, along with the five major US cell carriers, have agreed on plans to offer customers a way to remotely wipe or make inoperable their devices beginning July 2015, the Verge reported.

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