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California Law Would Require "Destroy" Function in Cell Phones

Expert Witness: Evidence Solutions, Inc.
A proposed California law would force Cellular Providers to have the ability to remotely destroy stolen cell phones. Once destroyed, the cell phone would be useless.

According to reports, Los Angeles cell phone thefts were up 12% in 2013 over 2012 numbers and San Francisco saw a 22% jump in crimes that included cell phone thefts. On the other end of the country, New York City, had a 40% increase in cell phone thefts in 2013. Up to 40 percent of all national robberies are cell phone thefts.

The California law would require that cell phones sold in California in 2015 and beyond come equipped to be destroyed. The proposed law goes on to say that fines of up to $2500 would be levied against providers for each device sold without the destroy feature.

“With robberies of
smartphones reaching an all-time high, California cannot continue to stand by when a solution to the problem is readily available,” said Sen. Leno, D-San Francisco. “Today we are officially stepping in and requiring the cell phone industry to take the necessary steps to curb violent smartphone thefts and protect the safety of the very consumers they rely upon to support their businesses.”

A California bill can only affect California sales. However, it is likely that the world’s 12th largest economy would cause manufacturers to create phones with the destroy technology and the phone with this ability would be available nationally as manufacturers are unlikely to create just a “California” version of their products.

The major US Cell phone carriers including: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint oppose the requirement. As members of CTIA a wireless communications advocacy organization, they claim that the Kill feature would increase the risk of hackers using the technology to shut down phones.

Currently the CTIA maintains a list of stolen phones that is designed to prevent stolen phones from being re-activated. Lawmakers in California, at least, are not satisfied.

Currently smartphone users are on their own for securing the device and its contents. Several companies offer software that can be installed to wipe cell phones including LoJack, SeekDroid and Apples iCloud.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Greene of Evidence Solutions, Inc.
For over 30 years, Scott Greene has been helping companies meet the challenges of the swiftly evolving computer technology industry.

Directly from high school, Scott went to work for IBM. Scott studied Systems Engineering at the University of Arizona. He has since earned certifications in many products and programming languages.

The Evidence Solutions team analyzes data from Computers, Cell Phones, Black Boxes, Dispatch Systems, Medical Records, Email systems and more. Scott then explains the digital evidence in plain English.

Scott’s extensive knowledge draws clients to him from all over the United States as well as Internationally for consulting, Forensics and expert witness services. His extensive and diverse experience allows him to be an expert in many facets of digital and electronic evidence. Scott, a sought after speaker and educator, travels throughout the country sharing his knowledge and presenting to local, regional, national and International organizations.

Copyright Evidence Solutions, Inc.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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