KILL SWITCH: Dayton signs law requiring cell phone feature - KMSP-TV

KILL SWITCH: Dayton signs law requiring cell phone feature

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Minnesota took a stop toward chopping the supply for "apple picking" criminals who sell stolen smart phones for a quick profit on Wednesday by adopting a law to require manufacturers to put a "kill switch" on the devices.

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The issue has raised increasing concern due to a spike in robberies near the University of Minnesota campus. Even a former Minneapolis mayoral candidate was attacked over his iPhone at the Mall of America.

“We have seen a number of students on the University of Minnesota’s campus targeted and attacked because their cell phone or iPod is quick and easy money for the assailant,” said Sen. Kari Dziedzic, who authored provisions that prohibit device dealers from using cash to purchase used electronics. “After working with students, community members and law enforcement, I believe this change will deter would-be thieves and keep our citizens safer.”

On Wednesday, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new law that would force cell phone manufacturers to incorporate kill switches into the devices that would render a stolen smartphone useless to a thief.

"Cell phone theft is a major concern here in Minnesota and around the country,” said Sen. Katie Sieben, who authored the bill in the Senate. “This legislation, which is the first of its kind in the country, will help reduce the likelihood that people will be robbed of their smart phones.”

Although the cell phone industry recently came to an agreement to start using that technology, Dayton said Minnesota's law will keep their feet to the fire by requiring integration by July 1, 2015.

"This is a hyper-competitive industry, and I would ask them to race to the finish line," Rep. Joe Atkins, who authored the bill, said. "I think whoever is the first one to get there and install kill switches on these devices is going to be very well perceived by the public and very well received by customers -- and will probably increase their business as well."


One of the major provisions to cut down on the quick sale of stolen goods is the restriction on businesses that will no longer be able to offer cash for used phones. Instead, they now only have the options of issuing a check or giving in-store credit.

All purchases from individual cell phone owners must now be documented to include the following information:

- Make and model of the device
- Date, time, place, name and address of the seller
- Record of the buyers check or electronic transfer
- Seller's driver's license number or similar ID document
- A signed statement from the seller attesting that the device is not stolen

Records must be kept for 3 years, and dealers must safeguard the personal information of those selling cell phones; however, no one under 18 will be permitted to sell.

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