California Lawmakers Nix Kill Switch Bill
California today failed to pass legislation that would have required cellphone makers to add a kill switch to devices sold in the state. The bill was proposed by California State Sen. Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. The men hoped the bill would eventually curb smartphone theft, which they say runs rampant in many cities. According to Gascon, 50% of all thefts in the city of San Francisco involve a smartphone or tablet. Despite the loss, consumers will eventually earn the protections sought by Leno and Gascon. The CTIA Wireless Association recently pledged to add baseline security features to smartphones that will allow consumers to remotely lock, wipe, find, and recover their smartphones. The CTIA's program won't go into effect until the middle of 2015.
CTIA Says Smartphones Better Protected Against Theft
Beginning today, most smartphones sold in the U.S. will include anti-theft security tools.
FCC Wants Smartphone Kill Switch On By Default
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today recommended that wireless carriers enable remote-locking and remote-data-wiping features by default. Most smartphones offer these features, but owners have to purposely turn them on.
Wireless Companies Agree to Support More Remote Wipe Tools
The CTIA today announced that a number of member companies have agreed to take on additional measures to help prevent cellphone thefts. Following recommendations made by the FCC, wireless companies will make anti-theft tools available to all consumers that also respect consumer choice and privacy.
Bill Would Compel Companies to Break Encryption
A new bill introduced by members of the House and Senate would force smartphone makers to crack encryption on devices any time law enforcement asks. A draft of the bill, submitted by Senators Diane Feinstein of California and Richard Burr of North Carolina, says tech firms "must provide in a timely manner responsive, intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance to obtain such information." Feinstein and Burr have been threatening such legislation since last year, but the notion has taken a new direction ever since the FBI asked Apple to help decrypt an iPhone and Apple refused.
CTIA Issues RFP for Stolen Device Database
The CTIA is looking for companies to help it with the Mobile Device Information Portal and issued a request for proposal to that effect. The portal is to be a central tool that consumers, carriers, and law enforcement can use to ascertain whether or not phones have been reported lost or stolen.