Smartphones sold in California will soon be required to come with a kill switch.
California has just passed a law that will require all smartphones to be equipped with a function that can allow users to wipe their data if their phone is stolen or lost.
The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2015 and applies to phones manufactured after this date.
While the law is only in California, it is expected that other states and even other countries will follow.
Not only will the kill switch be able to wipe users data but it will also lock the phone, rendering it useless. Only the owner of the phone will have control over the switch however the police can also use the tool.
This means that the police could cut off phone service in certain situations however, this would require a court order unless their is an emergency that poses immediate danger of death.
The law is yet to specify how the system will lock the phone, or if its safe from hackers however, it seems that each manufacturer will be required to come up with their own system.
With the new law in place, the state is hoping to curb the growing phone theft situation which has become one of the most prevalent street crimes.
Apple has already announced that they will be releasing an “activation lock” feature into iOS 7 which will meet all of Calfornia’s requirements.
Both Google and Microsoft have also announced that they will be including similar feature in their latest software update as well.
“California has just put smartphone thieves on notice,” stated California State Senator, Mark Leno. “Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fuelling street crime and violence within our communities.”