On Monday, California governor Jerry Brown signed into law the nation’s first regulation mandating smartphone have “kill switches.” Under the law, all smartphones produced after July 1, 2015 must include built-in measures that allow users to remotely render the devices inoperable in order to be sold in California. The purpose is to deter thieves from stealing smartphones. Preliminary data on these built-in anti-theft features suggest they are effective. Smartphone thefts dropped 38 percent in San Francisco in the beginning of 2014 because of iOS 7's iCloud Activation Lock feature. Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung along with five other cellphone carriers have voluntarily agreed to offer phones that can remotely be made inoperable by July 2015. California state senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, who sponsored the bill, said the law will “curb this crime of convenience, which is fueling street crime and violence within our communities."
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