Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Cellphones United States

Federal Smartphone Kill-Switch Legislation Proposed 173

alphadogg writes "Pressure on the cellphone industry to introduce technology that could disable stolen smartphones has intensified with the introduction of proposed federal legislation that would mandate such a system. Senate bill 2032, 'The Smartphone Prevention Act,' was introduced to the U.S. Senate this week by Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat. The bill promises technology that allows consumers to remotely wipe personal data from their smartphones and render them inoperable. But how that will be accomplished is currently unclear. The full text of the bill was not immediately available and the offices of Klobuchar and the bill's co-sponsors were all shut down Thursday due to snow in Washington, D.C."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Federal Smartphone Kill-Switch Legislation Proposed

Comments Filter:
  • Devil's Advocate (Score:5, Informative)

    by JonBoy47 ( 2813759 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:24PM (#46242619)

    It's spurred mostly by the fact that AT&T and T-Mobile have been sand-bagging, claiming GSM/SIM's don't allow for black-listing. The utility of Sprint and Verizon's blacklists is predicated on the "SIM" being integral to a CDMA phone; they can limit access to their networks to phones locked to their networks. The proliferation of phones containing GSM, CDMA and LTE hardware regardless of the carrier's network, opens the distinct possibility of a stolen phone being unlocked/jailbroken/rooted and re-used on a different carrier, rendering even Sprint and Verizon's blacklist useless.

    This law is looking to have all the carriers actually implement a lost/stolen black-list, and to further have communication between the carriers, so that a black-listed phone can't be re-used on anybody's network. This sounds like something that could (and should) be implemented in response to market forces. The proliferation of passive anti-theft systems in late model cars provides a good model. There's no legal requirement for car-makers to implement RFID-encoded key-fobs, yet they are nearly ubiquitous and have massively reduced theft of vehicles so equipped.

  • Re:The Safe Bet Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:47PM (#46242731)

    Just so you don't think I'm pulling it out of my ass: []
    Official police statistics show that there were more than 40 cell phone muggings in November. The number may not seem high, but it is unsettling with just a portion of the crimes reported, and virtually all of them involve a gun, knife or physical assault. []
    Officer Gordon Shyy, media relations unit of the San Francisco Police Department, tells Mashable they don't have any data about whether cellphones deterred crime in the 90s, but said today cellphone muggings are "an epidemic nationwide."
    From January 2012 through Nov. 30, 2012, there were approximately 1,732 cellphone related thefts reported in San Francisco out of a total of 3,487 robberies — making 50% of all robberies cellphone related.

  • Re:The Safe Bet Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by tsqr ( 808554 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:50PM (#46242753)

    Exactly. The Republicans will use it to devastate the used phone market.

    I guess you missed the part where the bill's author is a Democratic Senator.

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.