Cell Phone Kill Switch Put Into Law

You paid good money for your cell phone, not to mention for the apps you have stored in it. What happens when that phone is stolen? Until now, a thief with a little bit of tech knowledge could open that phone and gain access to any personal information inside. Thanks to a new law that went into effect on July 1, you can kill your phone once you discover you have lost it or it has been stolen.

Any phone released from the beginning of the month on must have “kill switch” software installed. Apple’s is called “Activation Lock” and Google’s is named “Device Protection.” The newest software is offering peace of mind to consumers, making the devices virtually pointless to steal.

According to experts, the software is long overdue. Over the past several years, theft of phones has increased exponentially, particularly in larger, urban areas. The stolen phones are often sold to shops and cartels who, in turn, ship them to customers around the world.

In a study conducted and released by Consumer Reports, 3.1 million Americans reported having their cell phones stolen in 2013. Since the software was released last year, that number dropped to 2.1 million. While cell phones are still an easy grab, the inability to do anything but power them up makes them less attractive to thieves.

Although the software was released last year, it did not come turned on by default. With the passage of the new law, any phone sold in California must have the software turned on. California is the second state to pass the kill switch law, but the first to make it a default setting.

Any retailer that sells a phone without a kill switch being turned on is subject to a fine. Those fines range from $500 to $2500, according to the law. The new rule went into effect almost two weeks ago, but the government says it will take time for maximum effect to be seen. As newer phones are purchased and released for sale, it is expected that theft reports will drop further.

If you have been charged with a crime, call our offices immediately. We are here to fight on your behalf. Our attorneys provide a free initial consultation in order to discuss the facts of your case. Call now.

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