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Cellphones Crime Handhelds

California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch 233

alphadogg (971356) writes "Smartphones sold in California will soon be required to have a kill switch that lets users remotely lock them and wipe them of data in the event they are lost or stolen. The demand is the result of a new law, put into effect on Monday, that applies to phones manufactured after July 1, 2015, and sold in the state. While its legal reach does not extend beyond the state's borders, the inefficiency of producing phones solely for California means the kill switch is expected to be adopted by phone makers on handsets sold across the U.S. and around the world."
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

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  • The worrisome part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:32AM (#47755985)

    From the article:

    Police can also use the tool, but only under the conditions of the existing section 7908 of the California Public Utilities Code. That gives police the ability to cut off phone service in certain situations and typically requires a court order, except in an emergency that poses “immediate danger of death or great bodily injury.”

  • Worldwide reach (Score:5, Interesting)

    by countach ( 534280 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:34AM (#47756005)

    An interesting case of how one US state could change worldwide products.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:40AM (#47756055) Homepage

    I predict it will be less than a year before law enforcement decides to shut down all cell phones of people they disagree with (like protesters).

    I predict it will be less than a year before hackers figure out how to brick or otherwise damage cell phones.

    Because, as usual, when you try to pass a legal solution to a technical problem, you will introduce new technical problems, and if law enforcement can abuse something they will.

    This will be misused, it's only a matter of time. And, since manufacturers will decide to make the phone the same for everywhere, we're all fucked because of a decision in California. And I don't trust that the carriers won't brick a phone you own if your bill is late, instead of just cancelling your service they'll kill your phone.

    Everyone around the world will now have a phone which has a loop-hole allowing law enforcement, government, and private industry to brick it. Add to that the likely back doors for law enforcement to look into your phone, and suddenly your phone is controlled by entities which aren't you.

  • by qbast ( 1265706 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @10:31AM (#47756563)
    Exactly. Does anyone know of an audio recording app for android which *immediately* (while it is still recording) uploads to remote server? Even better if it is possible to start it in unobtrusive way.
  • Re:Worldwide reach (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @10:37AM (#47756611)

    Has happened quite a bit in the past... even now, some firearms have "California models" vs. "everywhere else". Example would be the GSG and/or SIG 1911 clones in 22lr that have threaded barrels for "everywhere else" and the thread protector is either silver soldered in place or a different barrel is used for the California model.

    A less inflammatory example would be the Porsche 930 from '84 to '89. The California emissions laws wouldn't allow them to be imported into the US at all (greymarket cars from Canada aside, and now the old age exemption). Porsche solved this by offering the factory Turbo Look option, priced about half way between the normal 911 model and the 930 model. To make them, they took a 930, removed the rear windshield wiper, the turbo script under the whale tail, and the turbo engine, putting in the 3.2l normal engine. These were known as "M491" cars after the option package code, and just over 1000 were produced in the 5 year model span (420 for the '83 model year, dwindling down to 15 or so in '89 and almost all were coupes - very few cabriolets were made, and only a few targa models), almost all of which were for US delivery. Buyers got that great wide back end sexy body look, the better brakes, suspension, etc. of the 930, but the regular 3.2l engine that could pass California's emissions laws.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.