Minnesota Beats California to Kill Switch Punch
May 15, 2014, 7:50 AM by Eric M. Zeman
Minnesota this week became the first state to require cell phone and tablet makers to build a kill switch into their devices. The idea behind the law, which doesn't go into effect until July 2015, is to eventually deter theft. As with a similar bill in California, the Minnesota law aims to cut down on the number of smartphones and tablets stolen each year by allowing consumers to render their devices useless. The kill switch gives device owners the power to remotely lock, wipe, or disable their phone or tablet. Once locked or disabled, stolen devices will have little value to thieves. "When you take away the worth, you take away the incentive. These thieves that are stealing these things no longer have the incentive to steal 'em," said Minnesota Rep. Joe Atkins. California's State Senate recently passed a similar bill, though it has yet to become law. The CTIA Wireless Association has its own, voluntary program in the works that will provide the same kill switch functionality to devices. The CTIA's initiative doesn't go into effect until July 2015.
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