Minnesota House Advances Smartphone ‘Kill Switch’ Bill

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota House took action today to slow down a surge in smart phone thefts: requiring new smart phones to include a “kill switch.”

Lawmakers say smart phone thefts make up 40 percent of the robberies in Minneapolis and St Paul, and 62 percent of robberies at the University of Minnesota.

The bill requires smart phones sold in Minnesota by July of 2015 to have a “kill switch” function or a free download.

“If their phone is stolen, they can literally go back and from a remote location or from the provider and turn this thing into a brick,” Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove, said. “It takes all the incentive away from stealing this thing in the first place.”

Some cell phone companies — but not all of them — have voluntarily agreed to install kill switches beginning next year.

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