Smartphone thieves, meet California’s kill switch

Don’t kill-switch me bro!

Fortune

Smartphone thieves in California are about to meet a new adversary – the kill switch.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law a bill requiring anti-theft features be built into new phones and automatically turned on. People whose phones are stolen would be able to remotely lock them and erase their data, making the devices worthless targets.

The law, which goes into effect in July 2015, is a big victory for anti-crime advocates who had complained that smartphone makers like Apple didn’t do enough to help their customers fend off theft. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, for example, had publicly criticized the industry for failing to beef up security after phone theft became epidemic in his city.

California is the first state to require the technology to be turned on by default. Earlier this year, Minnesota passed a law requiring phone kill switches, but the language did not…

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