Kill switch dies on the Senate floor

Amrita Kaur, Copy editor

Legislators failed to pass a cell phone kill switch legislation, by two votes.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Mark Leno, Democrat of San Francisco, on Feb. 6, which would require all smart-phone manufacturers to equip their products with the ability for theft victims to disable the phone inoperable remotely.

The hope is that the technology would deter robbers from stealing the electronic devices.

On April 24, Senate Bill 962, couldn’t make it passed the State Senate, by a vote of 19-17 in the 40 member house. The bill needed 21 votes to pass.

According to a report by the Huffington Post on April 25, Sen. Jean Fuller, Republican from Bakersfield voted against the bill because she believed it would undermine consumer choice. She also questioned whether it could be a first step to mandating similar technology in other products, such as having, “a kill switch in your car.”

Cody Soong, 20, questioned the failed proposal.

“I don’t understand why any lawmaker would vote against this bill,” he said. “I think it would be great to have this technology on our phones. It’s better to have it, than to not have it, right?”

Half of all robberies committed in San Francisco involve smart-phones — the number is one out of three nationwide.

At a press conference on Feb. 7 Leno said, “this is a crime of convenience, if we remove the convenience, we remove the crime.”

Leno highlighted at the press conference that 67 percent of all theft in San Francisco and 75 percent in Oakland involve smartphones.

Eveline Mbugua, a public health major, “Lawmakers don’t realize how hard student life can be and that we have to worry about our safety. I want this law to pass so that it would prevent thieves from making us a target.”

Students, like Kayla Rojas, 20, who have had their wallets stolen in the past, wish that a device like this would exist for their phones, to deter thefts of their smart-phones and electronic pads.

Megan Boken, a 23 year-old St. Louis University student, was shot and killed in 2012 during a mobile phone robbery, while sitting in her car.

Boken’s father Paul Boken, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and Leno are continuing their efforts to pass the bill.