Minnesota passes nation’s first smartphone ‘kill switch’ law

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Minnesota passed the nation’s first law requiring smartphones to have the ability to be remotely disabled. The law requires smartphone manufacturers to introduce so-called “kill switches” in devices to allow users to make lost or stolen phones unusable.

In so doing, the state hopes to remove the incentive for such robberies, which are on the rise.

A Consumer Reports survey released in April month found that 3.1 million Americans had cellphones stolen in 2013, nearly double the 1.6 million thefts reported the previous year. Some of those robberies can become violent, as was the case for a Minneapolis mayoral candidate who received nine stitches after being assaulted by teenage thieves in December.

“This law will help combat the growing number of violent cellphone thefts in Minnesota,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement to announce the bill’s signing. Minnesota is the first state to pass such a law. A similar measure is working its way through the California legislature.

Minnesota passes nation’s first smartphone ‘kill switch’ law Minnesota signs first smartphone 'kill switch' law (USAToday) First smartphone 'kill switch' law signed in Minnesota (Associated Press)