Senator Hoylman Introduces Legislation to Pull the Plug on Smartphone Theft

March 07, 2014

New York, NY— Today, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D, WFP – Manhattan), ranking member of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, announced the introduction of the Smartphone and Tablet Security Act (S.6748) to require all smartphones, tablets and similar devices sold in New York State to be equipped with a “kill switch” to allow users to protect their information by rendering their lost or stolen devices permanently inoperable.

State Senator Hoylman said: “Allowing New Yorkers to remotely disable their devices the moment they realize they’ve been robbed will protect consumers’ personal data and discourage smartphone thefts. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is to be commended for his leadership on this issue and launching an effort at the federal level to require a “kill switch,” along with Congressman José Serrano. Partisan gridlock in Washington may delay passage of this important legislation, however. In the meantime, New York should be a leader in protecting consumers by enacting the Smartphone and Tablet Security Act.”

Senator Hoylman’s legislation would protect consumers by requiring manufacturers to utilize available “kill switch” technology to deter theft by reducing the devices’ resale value. Smartphones are an increasingly ubiquitous presence in the lives of New Yorkers, but due to their small size and high value, they are common targets for theft. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), smartphone theft accounts for nearly one in three robberies in the United States and half of all robberies committed in New York City. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton noted earlier this week that responding to such thefts diverts valuable NYPD resources that could be combating other types of crime.