California Legislature Passes Bill To Mandate Mobile Phone Kill Switches
From the very-bad-idea dept
We’ve explained a few times now why the idea of mandatory kill switches for mobile phones is a really bad idea and a slippery slope to abuse. So, of course, the California legislature has passed a bill mandating it, introduced by California State Senator Mark Leno and sponsored by SF District Attorney George Gascon. While end users could “opt-out,” how many people do you think will actually make that decision?
The reasoning behind this bill seems sound: a kill switch makes stealing phones less valuable, thereby decreasing phone theft. But, the mandate is dangerous for a number of reasons. If individuals want to use a kill switch there are plenty of third party apps they can get to do that themselves. But much scarier is how such kill switches will undoubtedly be abused. Having a single technology that can brick a ton of phones will be a very tempting target for hackers. And, it will probably be even more tempting for law enforcement for a variety of reasons. Someone videotaped the police doing something bad? Instead of having to go confiscate the phone, why not just brick it from afar? This seems like yet another bill pushed with good intentions that risks some very dangerous consequences.