July 1, 2015
Twitter: @GeorgeGascon
Maxwell Szabo, (415) 553-9089
Alex Bastian, (415) 553-1931


Legislation Sponsored by District Attorney George Gascón Requires Every New Smartphone Sold Statewide to Have Theft Deterrent Technology Enabled Automatically During Setup

 – California’s landmark legislation requiring all new smartphones sold in California to come pre-equipped with theft deterrent technology takes effect today. SB 962, sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and authored by Senator Mark Leno, prompts every consumer to enable a kill switch during the initial setup of a new smartphone. The bill became law on January 1, but officially goes into effect today.


“For years consumers have been victimized because the wireless industry failed to safeguard its products.  Today that changes,” said District Attorney George Gascón.  “These companies had ample opportunity to implement this technology voluntarily, and on an opt-out basis.  Unfortunately, they responded to the surge in robberies with rhetoric, and when it became clear that the safety of their customers wasn’t driving their decision making it was evident that we needed to act.  I commend Senator Leno, the Legislature, and the Governor for standing up to the army of special interests that opposed this public safety solution.  I also want to commend the more than 300 members of the Secure Our Smartphones coalition, and in particular Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and London Mayor Boris Johnson who stood with us from the beginning.  We’re already witnessing a worldwide reduction in smartphone robberies following the limited implementation of this technology.  As this technology is implemented ubiquitously, and as older phones are slowly phased out, I expect this epidemic to become a thing of the past.” 


“California has led the nation in protecting consumers against the epidemic of smartphone theft, and our efforts are already paying off,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Recent reports show that smartphone thefts are already on the decline as more new phones come equipped with kill switches. The incentive to steal smartphones, which had become a trigger for violent street crime in many of our largest cities, is rapidly dwindling.”


Consumer Reports study from June shows that there were one million fewer victims of smartphone theft in 2013 than there were in 2014. 2.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft last year, compared to 3.1 million American victims in 2013.


SB 962 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in August of last year. Since then, smartphone industry leaders have indicated that they would not sell California specific phones, meaning most phones sold in the U.S. will meet the standards set by California law, which requires consumers to actively opt-out of the theft-deterrent technology. 

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