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Lawmakers Aim to Require Smartphone Kill Switch

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Top message:  Already done by msteven3   Dec 19, 2013, 12:55 PM

Replying to:  Re: Government Knows Best by freek1989   Dec 19, 2013, 1:38 PM

Re: Government Knows Best

by T Bone    Dec 19, 2013, 2:22 PM   edited Dec 19, 2013, 2:25 PM

I don't know what the California bill requires, because the article doesn't, but I do know what the bill proposed in New York requires, and it's a horrible bill.

The kill switch that is being proposed, at least in the state of New York, is something that would be put in the hands of the carriers Shocked, and the carriers would be REQUIRED to immediately pull the kill switch on any phone reported to them to be stolen....the feature would also be non-optional (i,.e it would be mandated to be on every single phone whether people want the feature or not) and it would be impossible to ever use the phone again once the kill switch is pulled. It's called a 'kill switch' precisely because it is permanent and cannot be reversed once it is done. It doesn't simply wipe the memory of the phone, which could be reversed simply by re-syncing with your PC, rather it permanently bricks your phone. There may be a time when bricking a phone is a good idea, but 99% of the time it is not a good idea and shouldn't even be considered as an option.

Now what every smartphone can already do is remotely wipe the memory of your phone, or display a message on the screen, or track its location by GPS. Realistically, this is all that consumers really need.

The potential for abuse with the 'kill switch' is just so enormous it's not even funny. 90% or more of the 'kill switch' requests are going to be done because someone is lying about the phone being stolen and trying to screw over someone on their account. We already have a problem with couples going through a messy divorce calling the carrier and suspending their spouse's phone out of spite. Now with the kill switch it will get worse. You will now have couples undergoing a messy divorce calling in reporting their spouses' phone stolen and demanding the kill switch be pulled, solely out of spite.

The absolute dead last thing I want is for someone to be able to 'get even' with me by stealing my account information, calling my carrier, claiming my phone had been stolen and asking them to brick my phone.

I don't think someone has to be some kind of radical libertarian to think that there are serious problems with all of this. The carriers don't even want to be in charge of a kill switch, they can see that it's a horrible idea.

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