Beginning Wednesday smartphones sold in the state must now be equipped with kill switch technology. That allows an owner to render the phone inoperable if it’s ever stolen.
Democratic Senator Mark Leno authored the bill. He says the technology will automatically be activated unless buyers choose not to turn it on. Leno says the law wouldn’t be as effective if people had to opt in.
"The criminal would think, you know, my chances are 50-50, I’m going to knock you over and take your phone. That wasn’t good enough for us," he says. "We wanted the criminal to know it’s ubiquitous, everyone’s got it, it’s not worth your trouble."
Leno says cell phone manufacturers have indicated they will not sell California-specific phones and instead will update all smartphones to meet the state’s requirements.
CTIA, a wireless trade association, says the industry is working with policymakers and law enforcement to help protect consumers’ smartphones.