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Minnesota is first state to sign smartphone 'kill switch' into law

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 16 May 2014 21:32 User comments (17)

Minnesota is first state to sign smartphone 'kill switch' into law Minnesota has become the first state to enact the so-called smartphone 'kill switch' in which all new phones must be sold with the ability to be remotely shut down in the event they are stolen.
The law will take full effect in July of next year, but politicians hope the wireless industry will take advantage sooner.

Democratic Rep. Joe Atkins, an advocate of the law, says the new measure will be "a vaccine" for the "epidemic" of mobile phone thefts. With the kill switch, phone owners can disable the phone permanently and wipe the data just by calling their carrier.

"Thus taking away the worth," continued Atkins. "When you take away the worth, you take away the incentive. These thieves that are stealing these things no longer have the incentive to steal 'em."

There are similar bills making their way through California, New York and Illinois' legislature. There a Federal law pending, as well.

In addition to the rule, the Minnesota bill bans retailers from paying cash for used mobile devices, and merchants must document all device info, require the seller to provide their ID and attest to the phone being their property.

Source:
Reuters

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17 user comments

117.5.2014 4:46

To be honest this is a ridiculous law, giving power to the provider to kill switch your phone shouldn't be allowed because of theft, this is something that if implemented should be in the power of the owner of the phone and not the company. You can use similar arguments that were put forward in regards to governments having Internet kill switches. This idea that the person is too dumb to control their own life is to be honest far too mothering. I grew up, I left home, I have children, I am now responsible for my own life please don't sell me ludicrous policies on the basis of its for my own good.

217.5.2014 5:33

Originally posted by Sannas:
To be honest this is a ridiculous law, giving power to the provider to kill switch your phone shouldn't be allowed because of theft, this is something that if implemented should be in the power of the owner of the phone and not the company. You can use similar arguments that were put forward in regards to governments having Internet kill switches. This idea that the person is too dumb to control their own life is to be honest far too mothering. I grew up, I left home, I have children, I am now responsible for my own life please don't sell me ludicrous policies on the basis of its for my own good.
I love your last sentence, we live in a society where most people like to blame others for there problems/faults instead of actually taking responsibility.
The kill switch was gonna happen anyway regardless of what anyone said or did cause some high paid people wearing suits wanted it to happen, (they make the laws not us).
how long until backyard dealers find a way to remove it,is the real question.

custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

317.5.2014 7:59

Originally posted by xboxdvl2:
Originally posted by Sannas:
To be honest this is a ridiculous law, giving power to the provider to kill switch your phone shouldn't be allowed because of theft, this is something that if implemented should be in the power of the owner of the phone and not the company. You can use similar arguments that were put forward in regards to governments having Internet kill switches. This idea that the person is too dumb to control their own life is to be honest far too mothering. I grew up, I left home, I have children, I am now responsible for my own life please don't sell me ludicrous policies on the basis of its for my own good.
I love your last sentence, we live in a society where most people like to blame others for there problems/faults instead of actually taking responsibility.
The kill switch was gonna happen anyway regardless of what anyone said or did cause some high paid people wearing suits wanted it to happen, (they make the laws not us).
how long until backyard dealers find a way to remove it,is the real question.
I am going to guess about a week... maybe less.

Data wipes I can understand wanting to be able to do as the user... but someone else having that ability not so much. What happens when someone who has the smarts to do so thinks it would be funny to use some hackery to kill all the phones with this?

Or even a disgruntled employee somewhere...
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 May 2014 @ 8:00

418.5.2014 21:23

I think this is a great idea.
but after reading your comments that the provider is in control of the kill switch that aint good.
Should it not be us reporting it and then requesting the kill switch to be enabled??
This has not hit OZ yet soo ill wait and see what fresh hell they bring here...


Edited by DVDBack23


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519.5.2014 8:39

Guess I am at a disadvantage not knowing where all these stolen phones go now. I have always assumed if I steal your phone and try to get it activated for me they would see it belongs to you and likely if it was worth stealing it is under contract. If that's true...Where do they go? Overseas? China? India? If that's the case I wouldn't think it would be hard for them to figure out how to turn the phones back on. Unless they somehow self destruct but I don't want to carry a bomb in my pocket...


Just my $0.02,

dEwMe

619.5.2014 12:59

Originally posted by dEwMe:
Guess I am at a disadvantage not knowing where all these stolen phones go now. I have always assumed if I steal your phone and try to get it activated for me they would see it belongs to you and likely if it was worth stealing it is under contract. If that's true...Where do they go? Overseas? China? India? If that's the case I wouldn't think it would be hard for them to figure out how to turn the phones back on. Unless they somehow self destruct but I don't want to carry a bomb in my pocket...

don't know about smartphones but late 90s-08 phones had sim cards,easy to remove and the cards were registered to the owner.Use to just swap the sim and if the phone was locked,all locks could be removed in about 30 mins by phone shops or done yourself if you knew how to do it.(almost forget to mention the casing was removable and replaceable).
I'm assuming a smartphone would be more complicated as you'd have to remove all the users data.

custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

719.5.2014 17:09

Originally posted by xboxdvl2:
Originally posted by dEwMe:
Guess I am at a disadvantage not knowing where all these stolen phones go now. I have always assumed if I steal your phone and try to get it activated for me they would see it belongs to you and likely if it was worth stealing it is under contract. If that's true...Where do they go? Overseas? China? India? If that's the case I wouldn't think it would be hard for them to figure out how to turn the phones back on. Unless they somehow self destruct but I don't want to carry a bomb in my pocket...

don't know about smartphones but late 90s-08 phones had sim cards,easy to remove and the cards were registered to the owner.Use to just swap the sim and if the phone was locked,all locks could be removed in about 30 mins by phone shops or done yourself if you knew how to do it.(almost forget to mention the casing was removable and replaceable).
I'm assuming a smartphone would be more complicated as you'd have to remove all the users data.
Not much more complicated. 4G phones have what are essentially SIM cards and wiping a phone is pretty easy even if you are locked out of it by current means. I am guessing there will be a bit of a learning curve to unlock these phones, but not much of one...and by writing it into law they severely limit what manufacturers can design to defeat newly designed hacks.

Right now there are two general groups of phone thieves (not including middlemen). The first are people who steal a phone and use it for a few days before it gets shut off and then they steal another. The kill switch probably won't do much to them as it probably won't be any faster. If anyone actually wanted to stop this, they would not turn off the phones but instead track them...with the price of most modern smartphones you are talking felony charges just for the theft, possibly other charges as well. The second group are the sellers...some go overseas, some get new cards and sold here, some get turned into repair parts and sold on ebay. Once hacked not only are the phones just as useful to this group, but the law actually makes them safer as people just assume that the phones must not be stolen because they are not bricked.

Really the only potential value in a kill switch would be the data wipe; and since it is not done by the user and we know the carrier will be slow about it that isn't very valuable either.

I'm looking forward to the news stories about hackers killing thousands of phones at once...given all the massive breaches we have seen in the past few years it is almost a given.


820.5.2014 11:51

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Originally posted by xboxdvl2:
Originally posted by dEwMe:
Guess I am at a disadvantage not knowing where all these stolen phones go now. I have always assumed if I steal your phone and try to get it activated for me they would see it belongs to you and likely if it was worth stealing it is under contract. If that's true...Where do they go? Overseas? China? India? If that's the case I wouldn't think it would be hard for them to figure out how to turn the phones back on. Unless they somehow self destruct but I don't want to carry a bomb in my pocket...

don't know about smartphones but late 90s-08 phones had sim cards,easy to remove and the cards were registered to the owner.Use to just swap the sim and if the phone was locked,all locks could be removed in about 30 mins by phone shops or done yourself if you knew how to do it.(almost forget to mention the casing was removable and replaceable).
I'm assuming a smartphone would be more complicated as you'd have to remove all the users data.
Not much more complicated. 4G phones have what are essentially SIM cards and wiping a phone is pretty easy even if you are locked out of it by current means. I am guessing there will be a bit of a learning curve to unlock these phones, but not much of one...and by writing it into law they severely limit what manufacturers can design to defeat newly designed hacks.

Right now there are two general groups of phone thieves (not including middlemen). The first are people who steal a phone and use it for a few days before it gets shut off and then they steal another. The kill switch probably won't do much to them as it probably won't be any faster. If anyone actually wanted to stop this, they would not turn off the phones but instead track them...with the price of most modern smartphones you are talking felony charges just for the theft, possibly other charges as well. The second group are the sellers...some go overseas, some get new cards and sold here, some get turned into repair parts and sold on ebay. Once hacked not only are the phones just as useful to this group, but the law actually makes them safer as people just assume that the phones must not be stolen because they are not bricked.

Really the only potential value in a kill switch would be the data wipe; and since it is not done by the user and we know the carrier will be slow about it that isn't very valuable either.

I'm looking forward to the news stories about hackers killing thousands of phones at once...given all the massive breaches we have seen in the past few years it is almost a given.
would that be able to wipe the data before a user has made a copy.People now seem to store a load of personal info on phones not to mention nude selfies or nude photos in general.

custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

923.5.2014 14:17

Why not a kill switch that activates when the automobile engine starts?

1023.5.2014 18:08

Who better to have the authority to do this than your phone provider? If it were up to the user that mean it could be less secure. Someone could get your password. Besides you have to call and ask them to do this. Its not like it could do this automatically.


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1123.5.2014 21:58

The kill switch is really there so Big Brother can shut you up if you're making too much noise that they don't like. Simple as that. Manufacturers are only supporting it because they're hoping it will force more phone sales.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 May 2014 @ 22:00

1224.5.2014 0:20

Today, the "kill switch". Tomorrow, the "detonation device"... and the tow trucks lined up on the side-streets waiting to scrape up chunks of cerebral remains off the pavement every time a stolen or found smartphone exploded through someone's head. lol

1325.5.2014 16:11

Originally posted by 8686:
Who better to have the authority to do this than your phone provider? If it were up to the user that mean it could be less secure. Someone could get your password. Besides you have to call and ask them to do this. Its not like it could do this automatically.
Actually, it could do this automatically...that's the idea; you report your phone stolen and it is done. Of course there is nothing stopping a provider from wiping all your data because you missed a billing date, there is nothing to prevent the government from doing it (this may sound paranoid...but considering the US has been arresting reporters and stealing their files, it wouldn't be too shocking for them to wipe a phone containing something they don't want public). There is also nothing to prevent a talented hacker from breaking into the telco systems and wiping every last verizon customer before the first one gets to a land line to report it. I'm guessing that the service contracts will be modified to state that the carrier is not responsible for data lost when the carrier destroys it.


1425.5.2014 16:36

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Originally posted by 8686:
Who better to have the authority to do this than your phone provider? If it were up to the user that mean it could be less secure. Someone could get your password. Besides you have to call and ask them to do this. Its not like it could do this automatically.
Actually, it could do this automatically...that's the idea; you report your phone stolen and it is done. Of course there is nothing stopping a provider from wiping all your data because you missed a billing date, there is nothing to prevent the government from doing it (this may sound paranoid...but considering the US has been arresting reporters and stealing their files, it wouldn't be too shocking for them to wipe a phone containing something they don't want public). There is also nothing to prevent a talented hacker from breaking into the telco systems and wiping every last verizon customer before the first one gets to a land line to report it. I'm guessing that the service contracts will be modified to state that the carrier is not responsible for data lost when the carrier destroys it.
Good point. And as for the government being able to do it, that has always been possible.
When they wipe data out, it is so GONE...
...much more Goner than what Norton System Works' disc wiper
(on Govt DOD-level setting) can do.

Of course mobile service providers will wash their hands of any responsibility for what happens to a user's data and personal stuff on those mobile gadgets.
That's why it's important to Backup your data from your gadget onto a separate removable media, or link your gadget to your desktop computer and Backup that way.
Here now, gone Instantly;
and the mobile company be like "we didn do it". lol

1526.5.2014 17:38

Originally posted by MagengarZ:
Good point. And as for the government being able to do it, that has always been possible.
When they wipe data out, it is so GONE...
...much more Goner than what Norton System Works' disc wiper
(on Govt DOD-level setting) can do.

It hasn't always been possible remotely; at least not if you setup your phone correctly. They can disable calling from the phone, kill your internet, or send a guy in a black suit to wipe your phone and then kill you in a way that looks like suicide...but remote wipe is new.

Yes, backup is always a good idea, if for no other reason than the risk of dropping your phone into a toilet...but people just don't do it...and most people miss things even if they try to do it.


1626.5.2014 19:20

I'm hearing one consensus here: It's not for us, it's for them. Perhaps for every single benefit to the pleeb, the end user, the peon, the 'consumer', whatever, there are at least 100 benefits for the ruling/dominating class.

Whelp, we all know what and why is going on here.

1726.5.2014 23:32

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Originally posted by MagengarZ:
Good point. And as for the government being able to do it, that has always been possible.
When they wipe data out, it is so GONE...
...much more Goner than what Norton System Works' disc wiper
(on Govt DOD-level setting) can do.

It hasn't always been possible remotely; at least not if you setup your phone correctly. They can disable calling from the phone, kill your internet, or send a guy in a black suit to wipe your phone and then kill you in a way that looks like suicide...but remote wipe is new.

Yes, backup is always a good idea, if for no other reason than the risk of dropping your phone into a toilet...but people just don't do it...and most people miss things even if they try to do it.
LOL!!!! All that trouble, just to wipe a phone! lol

I think that by subconscious default we've become "digital pack-rats"... we started saving stuff in our computers, everything from photos...images...documents...to downloaded wares, you name it, to a point that we never use that stuff more than once or twice, and then we forget them...
We then back stuff up, and later on when we realize we need a specific item or downloaded software it's too late because we've wiped it out.

Now, in the age of mobile hand-held electronics, we continue pack-ratting stuff- this time in our mobile gadgets
...images...phone numbers we probably might never call again-- yeah, phone numbers found in for sale ads on Craigslist; or that drunk chic we met at the bar last night. lol... mobile text messages... and links.

Man, we are such pack-rats! lmao XD
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 26 May 2014 @ 23:36

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