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NJ Lawmakers want ‘kill switches’ on smartphones

Smart phone theft is a growing problem in New Jersey and throughout the world. To deter thieves and protect your personal information, a trio of Garden State lawmakers is co-sponsoring legislation (A3157) to require all new smartphones and tablets sold in New Jersey to come equipped with a “kill switch” so the owner could remotely disable the device if it is lost or stolen.

(Oleksiy Mark, ThinkStock)

“It’s not just a phone. It’s an information center and if somebody gets your phone they literally have access in many cases to your credit cards, to your personal information,” said Assemblyman Pat Diegnan (D-South Plainfield). “If your phone is missing or if you’re at a bar and you leave it behind you could go home, get on your computer and terminate the use of that phone.”

California and Minnesota are currently the only two states with a “kill switch” law. Diegnan’s measure is co-sponsored by Assemblymen Tom Giblin (D-Clifton) and Joe Cryan (D-Union).

“It’s not science fiction. It’s something that can be done. It’s important that if your phone is taken or you’ve lost it that you have the ability to shut it down. I would expect that this will be the law of the state of New Jersey before the year’s out,” Diegnan said.

Apple already has the technology and both Google and Microsoft said they will offer it in their new smartphones.

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