California could make mobile news by becoming the first state to compel smartphone and tablet-makers to install a security feature that would make the devices useless to thieves.
Under the proposed law, all mobile devices sold in California or shipped to the state must include a “kill switch,” that could be activated remotely by their owners in the event the devices are stolen. A coalition of state officials, including San Francisco’s attorney general, is backing the proposed law, the Associated Press notes.
Officials hope the technology would reduce the attractiveness of mobile devices to thieves. Recent mobile news has been marked by rising tide of smartphone and tablet thefts. The FCC says that phone thefts account for nearly a third of all robberies in the U.S.
Efforts to include “kill switch” technology have encountered opposition from the nation’s leading wireless carriers, Verizon Wireless (VZ), AT&T (T), Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS).
The mobile news is even worse in major cities like New York and San Franscisco, where thefts of Apple (AAPL) devices have become so common that police use the term “Apple picking” to refer to such thefts.
Apple device thefts alone are blamed for pushing up New York City’s crime rate.