State Legislators Respond to Outcry Over Smart Phone Thefts: Call for Manufacturer ‘Kill’ Switch

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Not long ago, there was much talk in Oakland and other California cities about how best to reduce spiking rates of smart phone theft.

Public officials and law enforcement agencies settled on the possibility of requiring phone manufacturers to install a "kill switch" in smart phones to allow rightful owners to make them instantly inoperable if stolen.

A bill to do just that is making its way through the State Legislature. SB 962 passed out of the Senate in May, has cleared two policy committees in the Assembly (the most recent being the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee on June 23 with a 9-2 vote), and is expected to be voted on by the full Assembly in mid- to late August.

The bill was introduced by State Senator Mark Leno and co-authored by East Bay representatives Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and Senators Loni Hancock and Mark DeSaulnier, among others. It is supported by a number of statewide law enforcement groups, the City of Oakland, the Oakland City Council, the Alameda County District Attorney, Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent and others. (See http://leginfo. legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient. xhtml for more information.)

If SB 962 passes the Assembly in August, its next and final stop is the Governor's desk. If you support this measure, call, email, or write Assemblymember Skinner if you are in Rockridge as well as the author, Senator Leno, to let them know.

They will keep a record of these contacts and reference how many people they have heard from when promoting the bill with colleagues, which absolutely influences votes when those numbers are high. On a measure like this, don't doubt for a moment that your voice matters.