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May 5, 2014

Opposite Reaction to Kill Switch Bill

Minnesota, California Senators Point to Business, Theft as Reasons for Support and Opposition

Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon via flickr

California senators have pulled the switch on a controversial bill while their Minnesota counterparts have endorsed it.

The bill, known as the ‘kill switch bill,’ would make it mandatory any new Smartphones sold after 2015 be equipped with the ability to shut them down should they be stolen. Smartphone thefts have skyrocketed in the past few years with the electronic devices quickly resurfacing on the black market.

In Minnesota, the bill was supported 44-14. That’s in stark contract to the response in California where 17 senators voted against the bill citing concerns over its potential impact on business.

CNnet reported many of the Golden State senators in opposition pointed to business concerns as their reason for a ‘no’ vote but, the site said, getting details on what sparked that view has not been easy.

“Fourteen of the senators who voted down the bill either did not return calls or emails requesting comment or said they were unavailable for comment when asked for specifics about the business harm,” reported CNet. “Of the three senators who commented on their vote, one said he voted against the bill because he would rather see the issue addressed on a federal level, another said smartphone makers are addressing the issue already with new technology, and the third implied that mandating the software would push companies to leave the state.”

In Minnesota, the bill is moving ahead with public safety seeming to be the impetus for progress.

“Locally, Smartphone thefts have figured in a series of high-profile robberies on and around the University of Minnesota campus in recent months, and Mark Andrew, a former Hennepin County commissioner and unsuccessful Minneapolis mayoral candidate, was badly beaten by thieves who stole his phone at the Mall of America,” reported The Star Tribune.

The bill is expected to pass when it arrives in the House in Minnesota.

Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said the bill will likely find more support as the wireless industry has pledged to install the technology in its products.


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.