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California's smartphone kill switch bill is about to become law


After a brief battle, California's smartphone kill switch bill is on the cusp of becoming a bona fide law. The measure has passed its final Senate vote 27 to 8, leaving just the Governor's signature before it takes effect. For the most part, it's the same bill that we saw in May -- the biggest change is an exemption for selling older devices that can't "reasonably be reengineered" to incorporate the remote lockdown feature.

The soon-to-be law is important, although it may not make as big an impact as you might think. Big phone makers like Apple, HTC and Samsung have already agreed to implement kill switches, and Minnesota has already enacted similar legislation. This just makes it harder for companies to pass on the technology -- they risk losing a lot of sales in the Golden State if they don't give you an easy way to block access to a stolen device.

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