Though many already have the functionality, California has nonetheless passed a bill that mandates all phones sold in the state have a “kill switch”. The bill states that smartphones or other connected devices must have a method for remotely locking and deleting information from a phone. The bill becomes law on July 1, 2015.
Both major mobile OS providers have this feature. Apple has their Find my iPhone app, which lets you find, lock, and delete your iPhone should it be lost or stolen. The upside is that you can tuck your information away neatly, and render the device useless. that makes it unattractive for resale or use. It also gives some who purchase the device via Craigslist or the like fits should the previous owner lock it out of spite.
Google’s Android has a similar feature in Android Device Manager, where users can remotely disable their device, and wipe information from it. Though not as tightly secure as Apple’s scheme, it nonetheless protects your info, and gives users a measure of control.
Both Apple and Google offer their “kill switch” feature in a browser, making it useful at any time. Windows Phone also has this functionality, with many of the same features as iOS and Android.
Though this is a California law, it may as well be considered a nationwide bill. OEMs aren’t likely to crate a “California Edition” just to satisfy a law that is quietly in effect already. Perhaps the better takeaway is that the security feature we find likable on our smartphones won’t be going away any time soon.
Source: The State of California