Minnesota Becomes First State To Sign A Smartphone “Kill Switch” Law

Just a few weeks after California’s “Kill Switch” bill for smartphones failed, Minnesota has become the first state to sign such a bill into law. Starting July 1, 2015, it will be against the law to sell a smartphone in Minnesota without antitheft software already installed, so owners can deactivate the phone if it’s lost or stolen.

Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill into law, reports KFGO.com, making it the first state to pass such a measure.

The idea of the kill switch is not only to protect owners after their phones get swiped or left somewhere, but to actively deter thieves from stealing the phones at all. Because who wants to go through the effort of thieving if you can’t use the thing you’ve stolen or sell it to someone else to use?

The text of the bill doesn’t require a kill switch, points out The Verge, but just states that phones be “equipped with preloaded antitheft functionality or be capable of downloading that functionality,” without detailing exactly what “antitheft” means.

The law also makes it a crime to buy used phones for cash or selling them without having the right paperwork in place to show that you’re allowed to resell it, including the driver’s license numbers of owners trading in phones.

Smart phone shutoff switch bill approved [KFGO.com]
First smartphone ‘kill switch’ law signed in Minnesota [The Verge]

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  1. EducationalGeek says:

    First, this is the most ridiculous idea. They already have kill switches built in. Android and Apple give you the ability to wipe and render the phones basically useless. Plus they have to be on the network to kill them anyway. Sure a consumer could call the carrier and have the IMEI or ESN marked as stolen and would be blocked from from their network as it is. They’re not going to be able to keep a database of MAC’s or IMEI’s/ESN’s to selectively cut off things as they choose. Pulling the sim and going to another network would circumvent a lot of it.

    Plus, they are never going to be able to control the personal sale of these things. It is all a big waste of time and money.