senate Bill S6850B

Amended

Relates to smart phone device antitheft protection

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 19 / Mar / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
  • 13 / May / 2014
    • AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
  • 13 / May / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 6850A
  • 12 / Jun / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
  • 12 / Jun / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 6850B
  • 16 / Jun / 2014
    • AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
  • 16 / Jun / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 6850C

Summary

Relates to a smart phone antitheft protection; establishes requirements for the acquisition and resale of wireless communications devices.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S6850
S6850A
S6850B
S6850C
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Consumer Protection
Law Section:
General Business Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง399-zzzz, Gen Bus L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6850B

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation
to smart phone device "kill switch"

PURPOSE OF THE BILL: This bill would require that any advanced mobile
communications device, as defined, that is sold in New York, include a
technological solution, which may consist of software, hardware, or
both software and hardware, that can render inoperable the essential
features of the device, as defined, when the device is not in the
possession of the rightful owner.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Sets forth the legislative intent of the bill describing
the public safety reasons for requiring smart phones and other
advanced mobile communications devices offered for sale in New York to
come with a technological solution enabled, in order to deter theft
and protect consumers.

Section 2: Establishes that section 399-zzzz be added to the general
business law, which states any advanced mobile communications device
that is sold on or after January 1, 2015 will include a technological
solution that can render the essential features of the device
inoperable when the device is not in the possession of the rightful
owner. The bill makes wireless telecommunications service providers
and wireless telecommunications equipment manufacturers jointly liable
for ensuring smart phones sold meet the bills requirements and prevent
these companies from assessing an additional fee, surcharge, tariff or
other charge for the "kill switch" functionality in smart phones.

Section 3: Establishes the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: According to the Federal Communications Commission,
one in three robberies in the United States involves the theft of a
mobile communications device, making it the number one property crime
in the country, Many of these robberies often turn violent with some
resulting in the loss of life. The FCC estimates that between thirty
to forty percent of United States street-theft involves a mobile
device. In fact, more than forty percent of all robberies in New York
City involve smartphones and other cell phones. Replacement of lost or
stolen mobile communications devices was an estimated thirty-billion
dollar business in 2012, and the four largest providers of mobile
radio services made an estimated seven billion eight hundred million
dollars from theft and loss insurance products in 2013. With robberies
of smartphones reaching an all-time high, New York should utilize the
readily available solution to the problem. The "kill switches" will
combat surging smartphone theft across the state by reducing the
incentive and ability criminals have to make money off the stolen
devices.

In order to deter criminals from stealing phones from consumers, there
needs to be a way to render stolen phones worthless. Currently the
only way this is possible is to make the phones unusable, and
therefore unable to be profited from on the secondhand market.
Utilizing kill switch technology ensures this is possible while
maintaining the safety and integrity of the victim/consumer. In


addition, there should be no inclination on the part of the consumer
to turn off the kill switch and to ensure this; it has been written
into the bill that no provider may attempt to entice the consumer in
any way to turn it off.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Assembly Bill A8984-A/2014 (Titone)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect January 1, 2015 and shall
apply to smart phone sales made on or after that date.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 6850--B

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             March 19, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee  on  Consumer  Protection  --
  committee  discharged,  bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
  recommitted to said committee -- committee discharged,  bill  amended,
  ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

AN  ACT  to  amend  the general business law, in relation to smart phone
  device "kill switch"

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature finds that:
  (a)  According  to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), one in
three robberies in the United States involves  the  theft  of  a  mobile
device,  making it the number one property crime in the country. Many of
these robberies often turn violent with some resulting in  the  loss  of
life.
  (b)  The  FCC estimates that between thirty to forty percent of United
States street theft involves a mobile device. In fact, more  than  forty
percent  of all robberies in New York city involve smartphones and other
cell phones.
  (c) Consumer reports projects that 1.6  million  Americans  had  their
smartphones stolen in 2012.
  (d)  According to the New York Times, one hundred thirteen smartphones
are lost or stolen every minute in the United States.
  (e) Major cities are home to the highest concentrations of cell  phone
theft,  and officials in New York and California have been pushing for a
cellphone kill switch in those states since April 2012. According to New
York state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, the United States Senate
proposal would force the mobile industry to "stop dragging its feet  and
join us in protecting consumers."
  (f)  In  April  of 2012, U.S. senator Charles Schumer, D-New York, and
New York city police commissioner Ray Kelly  announced  that  the  major
U.S.  cell phone carriers and the Federal Communications Commission have
agreed  to  set  up a national database to track reported stolen phones.
Senator Schumer also introduced a bill called the  mobile  device  theft

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD14099-04-4

S. 6850--B                          2

deterrence act, which proposes a five-year prison sentence for tampering
with the ID numbers of a stolen cell phone.
  (g)  According  to  press  reports,  the  international trafficking of
stolen smartphones by organized criminal organizations has  grown  expo-
nentially  in  recent  years  because  of  how  profitable the trade has
become.
  (h) Replacement of lost and stolen mobile  devices  was  an  estimated
thirty-billion-dollar business in 2012 according to studies conducted by
mobile  communications security experts. Additionally, industry publica-
tions indicate that the four  largest  providers  of  commercial  mobile
radio  services  made  an  estimated seven billion eight hundred million
dollars from theft and loss insurance products in 2013.
  (i) Technological solutions that render stolen  mobile  communications
devices  useless  already exist, but the industry has been slow to adopt
them.
  (j) In order to be effective, these technological solutions need to be
ubiquitous, as thieves cannot distinguish between those  mobile  devices
that  have the solutions enabled and those that do not. As a result, the
technological solution should be able to withstand a hard reset or oper-
ating system downgrade, and be enabled by default, with consumers  being
given the option to affirmatively elect to disable this protection.
  (k)  Manufacturers  of  mobile  devices  and  commercial  mobile radio
service providers should make efforts to protect  their  customers  from
being targeted as a result of purchasing their products and services.
  (l) It is the intent of the legislature to require all smartphones and
other mobile devices offered for sale in New York to come with a techno-
logical solution enabled in order to deter theft and protect consumers.
  S  2. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 399-
zzzz to read as follows:
  S 399-ZZZZ. SMART PHONE DEVICE "KILL SWITCH". 1. DEFINITIONS.  FOR THE
PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS HAVE  THE  MEANINGS  GIVEN
THEM:
  (A) "COMMISSIONER" MEANS THE COMMISSIONER OF COMMERCE.
  (B)  "SMART PHONE" MEANS A CELLULAR PHONE OR OTHER MOBILE DEVICE BUILT
ON A MOBILE OPERATING SYSTEM AND POSSESSING ADVANCED COMPUTING CAPABILI-
TY.  FEATURES A SMART PHONE MAY POSSESS INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO,
BUILT-IN APPLICATIONS, INTERNET  ACCESS,  DIGITAL  VOICE  SERVICE,  TEXT
MESSAGING, E-MAIL, AND WEB BROWSING.
  (C)  "SUBSCRIBER  IDENTIFICATION MODULE" OR "SIM CARD" MEANS A CARD OR
OTHER SIMILAR MEDIA THAT IS INSERTED INTO A  SMART  PHONE  AND  USED  TO
STORE DATA TO AUTHENTICATE AND IDENTIFY SUBSCRIBERS ON THE NETWORK.
  (D)  "WIRELESS  TELECOMMUNICATIONS  EQUIPMENT  MANUFACTURER" MEANS ANY
ENTITY THAT MANUFACTURES WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEVICES,  INCLUDING
SMART PHONES.
  (E)  "WIRELESS  TELECOMMUNICATIONS  SERVICE  PROVIDER" IS DEFINED AS A
PROVIDER OF MOBILE WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE.
  2. "KILL SWITCH" REQUIRED. (A) ANY SMART PHONE SOLD OR PURCHASED  MUST
BE  EQUIPPED  WITH TECHNOLOGY DESIGNED TO RENDER THE DEVICE'S CORE FUNC-
TIONALITY INOPERABLE IN THE EVENT OF THEFT OR LOSS.
  (B) IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH PARAGRAPH (A)   OF THIS  SUBDIVISION,  ANY
"KILL SWITCH" FUNCTIONALITY MUST BE DESIGNED TO:
  (1) WIPE THE DEVICE OF ALL USER DATA;
  (2)  RENDER THE DEVICE'S CORE FUNCTIONALITY INOPERABLE ON ANY WIRELESS
TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDER'S NETWORK GLOBALLY;
  (3) PREVENT THE DEVICE FROM BEING REACTIVATED WITHOUT  A  PASSCODE  OR
OTHER  SIMILAR AUTHORIZATION, EVEN IF THE DEVICE IS REPROGRAMMED, TURNED

S. 6850--B                          3

OFF AND SUBSEQUENTLY TURNED BACK ON, HAS ITS NETWORK CONNECTIVITY  DISA-
BLED AND SUBSEQUENTLY REENABLED, OR HAS ITS SIM CARD REMOVED; AND
  (4) BE REVERSIBLE IN THE EVENT OF THE DEVICE'S RECOVERY BY ITS OWNER.
  (C)  WIRELESS  TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS AND WIRELESS TELE-
COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS ARE JOINTLY LIABLE  FOR  ENSURING
SMART PHONES SOLD MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SUBDIVISION.
  3.  ADDITIONAL  FEES  PROHIBITED.  WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE
PROVIDERS AND WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS  EQUIPMENT  MANUFACTURERS  ARE
PROHIBITED FROM ASSESSING AN ADDITIONAL FEE, SURCHARGE, TARIFF, OR OTHER
CHARGE TO CONSUMERS FOR "KILL SWITCH" FUNCTIONALITY IN SMART PHONES.
  4. NONCOMPLIANCE; INSURANCE. (A) A WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE
PROVIDER  PROVIDING  SERVICE  TO  A  SMART  PHONE  SOLD OR PROVIDED TO A
CONSUMER IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION MUST  INSURE  THE  DEVICE  AGAINST
THEFT AT NO COST TO THE CONSUMER.
  (B)  THEFT  INSURANCE UNDER PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE
IN THE FORM, AMOUNT, AND DURATION AS DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSIONER.
  (C) A  WIRELESS  TELECOMMUNICATIONS  SERVICE  PROVIDER  MUST  ANNUALLY
SUBMIT ITS THEFT INSURANCE PLAN FOR APPROVAL BY THE COMMISSIONER.
  S  3.  This  act  shall take effect January 1, 2015 and shall apply to
smart phone sales made on or after that date.

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