Consumers Propel Kill Switch Bill to Victory!

Governor Signs New Consumer Protection Bill Supported by TURN.

Have you or someone you know had your cell phone stolen recently? If so, you’re not alone. According to a study by Consumer Reports, over 3 million Americans had their phones stolen last year. Many of these robberies were violent, so the need to prevent them cannot be overstated.

That’s why the Governor’s signature on Senator Mark Leno’s “kill switch bill,” SB 962 is such good news. The bill takes aim at cell phone theft by requiring phone companies to automatically install a “kill switch” on every phone they sell. That would mean a stolen phone could be “killed” remotely- every time- hence making theft of a phone unprofitable.

It makes sense to hold the phone companies accountable for deterring theft because the industry profits an estimated $30 billion annually from replacing lost or stolen devices, and billions more through selling phone insurance to consumers.

Senator Leno’s bill requires all mobile devices manufactured after July 1, 2015 be sold with kill switches already installed, and although it would give buyers the option to disable the switches, it would outlaw companies from encouraging customers to do so.

The phone industry initially opposed the bill, but was forced to back down in the face of widespread consumer support.