“California’s Senate passed a bill requiring smartphone makers such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. to include technology that would let customers remotely wipe data from their devices and render them inoperable when stolen,” Michael B. Marois reports for Bloomberg. “The same legislation was rejected a month ago amid pressure from the industry. The author of the legislation, San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno, amended the bill to exclude tablets from the mandate and to extend the date it becomes effective by six months to allow companies to sell off existing supplies.”
“A similar bill passed out of the Minnesota Senate May 2. San Francisco is considering its own law and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is pushing for federal legislation,” Marois reports. “Under the new bill, smartphones sold in California must include the technology starting in July 2015. While the bill was passing 25-8, the margin in the Democratic-controlled Senate can change as absent members continue to enter votes. The state Assembly, also controlled by Democrats, will consider the legislation next.”
“Apple, based in Cupertino, California, the second-largest maker of smartphones, had opposed the original legislation. The company withdrew its objection after the bill was amended, Leno said,” Marois reports. “While Apple won’t discuss its position on the legislation, the company already offers security options for its devices, said spokesman Colin Johnson. Apple phones and tablets can be protected with applications that allow the owner to track the location of the device and remotely set a passcode or erase all personal data if stolen, he said.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: This is a sorry admission that the state cannot adequately protect its law-abiding citizens from the criminals who prey upon them.
Minimizing the attractiveness of objects to thieves is not the same as minimizing thievery. It is akin to putting a band-aid on a skin cancer patient. The cancer is still there, lurking. The thieves still exist; they’ll simply turn back to stealing wallets, jewelry, purses, and even the sneakers off your feet.
Imagine if the lawmakers instead actually adequately dealt with the thieves and the causes (drugs, mainly) that make them steal property from others? Law-abiding citizens would then actually be able to freely walk about with their property, enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (hey, that sounds vaguely familiar) instead of hiding their smartphones (as authorities in some major cities actually advise in another blatant admission of their failure), cowering in fear, ready to flip the “kill switch” at any moment the expected crime occurs (for which they are often basically blamed: “Why’d you use your iPhone out in public?”).
The problem is not the iPhone. The problm is not the iPhone owner. The problem is the criminal. iPhones don’t steal iPhones. Criminals steal iPhones (and purses, wallets, watches, sneakers, and whatever else they can fence for drug money).
You can have seventeen “kill switches” per smartphone and the root problem will remain untouched. What’s Leno’s next bill going to demand, exploding shoe laces on Air Jordans? Empty pocketbooks? Non-removable watches?
Politicians who apply band-aids in order to make the local news (“Look, I hid the cancer for a day or so! Mindlessly reelect me!”) should be replaced by those who can perform the surgery that is so desperately required to cure the suffering patient.
Big ideas, not little. Steve Jobs, not Michael Dell.
Will Apple’s ‘kill switch’ tamp down iPhone thefts? – May 4, 2014
San Francisco District Attorney to Apple: Enable Activation Lock on every iPhone by default – December 18, 2013
Attorneys General for New York and San Francisco strongly urge iPhone and iPad users to download iOS 7 – September 19, 2013
S.F. district attorney optimistic over Apple, Samsung progress on anti-theft tech for smartphones – July 23, 2013
U.S. State and federal governments test Apple’s iOS 7 activation lock feature – July 18, 2013
U.S. officials call on Apple, other mobile device makers to help stop smartphone theft – June 6, 2013
The New York Times tries to blame Apple for smartphone thefts – May 2, 2013