Kill-Switch Bill Heading to Governor's Desk

California is just inches away from becoming the second state — after Minnesota —  to install mandatory theft-deterring technology in all smartphones.

Today the state Senate passed Mark Leno's SB 962, the so-called “kill-switch” bill, on a final procedural vote before it heads to the governor's desk. SB 962 made it through the Assembly last week, following majority approval from the Senate in May. 

That's a remarkable shift from April, when Leno and his co-proponent, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, were struggling against vigorous opposition from phone manufacturers, retailers, service providers, and their heavily-resourced lobbying arm, the CTIA.

Apple and Microsoft ultimately withdrew their opposition after Leno introduced various amendments, including an exemption for any smartphone manufactured before January 1, 2015. The bill also prohibits cities and counties from imposing their own requirements on manufacturers, service providers, or retailers.

[jump] But even the new, watered-down version seemed too strict for the CTIA, whose members stand to earn billions from smartphone theft and its after-effects. The association voiced its disapproval again after the Assembly vote last week.

That said, the road ahead looks clear for Senator Leno. Governor Brown now has 12 days to sign or veto the new legislation.

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