California Senate passes smartphone kill switch bill

Stolen phones in California are set to become useless after senators in the state voted overwhelmingly in favour of a measure that would make the likes of Apple and Samsung include a compulsory kill switch inside phones.

Related: Minnesota makes kill switch mandatory for all smartphones

The measure passed by a vote of 27-8 and it has been sent to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature thus meaning that smartphone manufacturers are very likely to have to include the feature.

“Our goal is to swiftly take the wind out of the sails of thieves who have made the theft of smartphones one of the most prevalent street crimes,” Senator Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat who wrote the bill, said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.

Smartphone theft in California is among one of the highest levels in the US with more than 65 per cent of all robberies in San Francisco involving a mobile device and the number rising to 75 per cent in Oakland, according to Leno.

The bill means that all smartphones have a prompt when being initially setup that requests that owners allow the technology as default as in the long run it will help to avoid the pitfalls of smartphone robbery.

Minnesota became the first US state to introduce a kill switch back in May with Illinois likely to follow the two states as the next in line and Minnesota has already made it clear any phone made after 1 July 2015 will contain the technology.

The savings made by the implementation of the kill switch could be passed on to consumers in the way of money not spent on replacement phones or forking out for premium insurance.

Related: Could smartphone kill switches save consumers billions?

Research from Dr. William Duckworth at Creighton University predicts that it could save phone owners $2.6 billion [£1.55 billion] a year and if this is the case it won’t be long until the technology is demanded on this side of the pond.