Can ‘Kill Switch’ Laws Put An End To Smartphone Thefts? Minnesota Enacts First-Of-Its-Kind Legislation

ImageBy Craig Henson

Despite industry opposition, Minnesota lawmakers passed a law that will soon require electronics manufacturers to install ‘kill switch’ antitheft technology in new smartphones, and more states appear ready to follow their lead.

On May 15, 2014, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the ‘kill switch’ bill into law. The bill, which is the first of its kind in the U.S., requires all smartphones sold or purchased in Minnesota and manufactured on or after July 15, 2015, to either come equipped with preloaded antitheft technology or else be capable of downloading such technology. The bill also establishes record keeping requirements for dealers acquiring used smartphones for resale, which include recording the seller’s name, address, and driver’s license number, as well as requiring the seller to sign a statement under penalty of perjury that the smartphone is not stolen and that the seller has the right to sell it. Minnesota lawmakers approved the legislation, in part, in response to a string of violent smartphone robberies on the University of Minnesota campus, hoping to thereby eliminate thieves’ incentives to steal the devices in the first place. Continue reading