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California bill to require a ‘kill switch’ on phones fails in state senate


A California bill that would require anti-theft measures to be included in smartphones, failed to pass today after a vote fell two Senate members short of its minimum. Senate bill 962 — which was introduced in February by Senator Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat — asked for any advanced mobile communications device, sold in the state next year to have hardware or software features to let owners render the devices useless when stolen. The vote comes just a week after nearly every major player in the phone industry pledged to make their smartphones harder to steal. Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung, along with the five major US cell carriers, agreed on plans to offer customers a way to remotely wipe or make inoperable their devices beginning July 2015. Along with the California bill, a separate piece of legislation introduced in Congress in February called the Smartphone Theft Prevention Act, asks for both carriers and device manufacturers to provide options to remotely wipe the phone, or render it useless if stolen.

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