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'Smartphone Theft Protection ACT' goes to Washington

The Senate on Thursday presented a bill ‘Smartphone Theft Protection Act’ that would mandate a feature on all new phones to let theft victims remotely wipe their personal data from the stolen device, render it inoperable and prevent thieves from reactivating it, reports The Hill.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), almost one-third of all robberies involve a stolen phone.

‘Cell phone theft has become a big business for thieves looking to cash in on these devices and any valuable information they contain, costing consumers more than $30 billion every year and endangering countless theft victims,’ Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said in a statement.

Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) also introduced the bill to show support.

The bill comes with debate from mobile device companies that hackers could disable the phone. Although Apple recently introduced a feature of kill switch to its phone, the industry has failed to make it a standard.

The industry has created a data base for stolen phones but it is rendered ineffective for phones taken outside the U.S.

Last Friday a ‘kill switch’ bill was introduced in the California senate by State Senator Mark Leno of California, a Democrat, requiring all smartphones and tablets sold in the state to include this kind of feature.

The bill, which is sponsored by George Gascón, San Francisco’s district attorney, would require phones sold in California on or after Jan. 1, 2015, to include the antitheft solution. Companies that sold phones without kill switches would be subject to fines of up to $2,500 for each device sold.

‘If your smartphone is stolen, you should be able to shut down the device and delete your personal data remotely,’ Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said in a statement. ‘This bill protects consumers against smartphone thieves and cracks down on the secondary market where stolen phones are sold.’

To view articles related to anti-theft laws for mobile phones see the list below in the Author’s suggestions and view the video atop this article on the rising crime of smartphones.

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