Sen. Leno, San Francisco D.A. Gascón Announce Plans to Introduce Legislation Requiring Technological Solutions to Epidemic of Smartphone Theft

December 19, 2013

CONTACT: Alex Bastian, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1931
Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Senator Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney
George Gascón announced plans today to introduce legislation that addresses
the epidemic of smartphone theft by requiring the implementation of theft
deterring technological solutions, also known as a "kill switch," which
renders phones inoperable if they are stolen. The bill will be formally
introduced in January at the start of the 2014 legislative session.

"I appreciate the efforts that many of the manufacturers are making, but
the deadline we agreed upon is rapidly approaching and most do not have a
technological solution in place," said District Attorney George Gascón.
"Californians continue to be victimized at an alarming rate, and this
legislation will compel the industry to make the safety of their customers
a priority."

According to the Federal Communications Commission, smartphone thefts
account for 30 to 40 percent of all robberies nationwide. In San Francisco
alone, more than 50 percent of all robberies involve the theft of a mobile
communications device, and in Los Angeles smartphone thefts are up almost
12 percent in the last year. These crimes cost U.S. consumers more than $30
billion in 2012, even though technology already exists that can render
stolen devices useless.

“One of the top catalysts for street crime in many California cities is
smartphone theft, and these crimes are becoming increasingly violent,” said
Sen. Leno, D-San Francisco. “We cannot continue to ignore our ability to
utilize existing technology to stop cell phone thieves in their tracks. It
is time to act on this serious public safety threat to our communities.”

 The bill will be introduced in early January.

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