With cell phone thefts surging across the country, Klobuchar earlier this year introduced legislation requiring carriers to provide kill switch technology that allows consumers to wipe personally identifiable information from their device and make it inoperable to thieves
After Klobuchar’s major push, wireless companies – including Apple, Google, AT&T, and Verizon – recently announced a new commitment to make kill switch technology available on smartphones
Washington, DC – Appearing at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters today before Chairman Wheeler and other officials, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) continued her push to install “kill switches” on smartphones to deter thieves and help protect consumers. At the event, which was hosted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and included leaders from the wireless industry and law enforcement , Klobuchar spoke about her legislation requiring carriers to provide kill switch technology that allows consumers to wipe personally identifiable information from their device and make it inoperable to thieves. Klobuchar was joined at the event by Congressman José Serrano (D-NY), who introduced companion legislation in the House. After Klobuchar’s major push, wireless companies – including Apple, Google, AT&T, and Verizon – recently announced a new commitment to make kill switch technology available on smartphones. Nearly one-in-three robberies involve cell phone theft, with criminals targeting smartphones for their high resale value and for the valuable personal and financial information they contain.
“Mobile devices aren’t just simple phones anymore – increasingly people’s livelihoods depend on them,” Klobuchar said. “We need to do more to crack down on criminals who are stealing and reselling these devices, costing consumers billions every year and threatening public safety. I’m continuing to push to ensure that all consumers have access to the most advanced technologies to protect themselves, their smartphones, and their personal information.”
The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act, which Klobuchar introduced with Senators Mikulski (D-MD), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), would require all phones sold in the United States to include kill switch type technology free of charge that would allow the consumer to wipe their personal data off the phone, render the phone permanently inoperable to anyone but the owner, and prevent it from being reactivated on a network by anyone but the owner.
The legislation is supported by the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, founders of the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, which is comprised of law enforcement agencies, elected leaders from across the country and consumer advocates. Additionally, the bill is supported by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association and Consumers Union.