On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that requires all smartphones sold in the state of California to feature a so-called “kill switch.”
The purpose of the technology is to give smartphone owners the ability to render their device unusable should it be lost or stolen, helping to prevent identity theft and financial fraud.
The enacted bill clearly defines what all smartphones must offer by July 1st, 2015:
Any smartphone that is manufactured on or after July 1, 2015, and sold in California after that date, shall include a technological solution at the time of sale, to be provided by the manufacturer or operating system provider, that, once initiated and successfully communicated to the smartphone, can render the essential features of the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user when the smartphone is not in the possession of an authorized user. The smartphone shall, during the initial device setup process, prompt an authorized user to enable the technological solution. The technological solution shall be reversible, so that if an authorized user obtains possession of the smartphone after the essential features of the smartphone have been rendered inoperable, the operation of those essential features can be restored by an authorized user. A technological solution may consist of software, hardware, or a combination of both software and hardware, and when enabled, shall be able to withstand a hard reset or operating system downgrade and shall prevent reactivation of the smartphone on a wireless network except by an authorized user.
The full text of the bill is available for review here.