California Governor Signs Smartphone Kill Switch Into Law

It's official: every cellphone sold in California will now have to include a remote disabling option that lets you render a stolen device unusable. More importantly, this antitheft security measure will have to come enabled by default.

The "kill switch" bill, which was introduced in February by State Senator Mark Leno and sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, was signed into law by California governor Jerry Brown on Monday. Phones sold after July 1, 2015 in the state that do not comply with the new law will be penalized anywhere between $500 to $2,500 per device.

California is not the first state to pass a kill switch bill. Minnesota beat the golden state to that. But the law there does not require the kill switch feature to be turned on by default, an important distinction.

The good for all of us is that very little will change. Most major smartphone makers support the idea and already have some form of anti-theft measures in place on their devices. And studies show that smartphone kill switches do reduce thefts by acting as deterrents against thieves. [Governor of California]