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Suicide Switch

May 10, 2014

A kill switch for smart phones?  http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/california-senate-passes-bill-requiring-smartphone-kill-switches;  I give a mighty sigh.  And I rant.

In the first place, this kill switch may not prevent a measurable number of violent crimes.  It would, feasibly, only deter theft of these gadgets by amateurs, these things that people are too attached to in the first place, hence why they are sought in thefts- how about we solve the problem by removing the dependency first?  It is a very insecure method of data storage anyway, people.  But silly me, asking people to step back and reconsider their actions to be more practical when a new toy is gleaming before them…

Secondly, let’s think about how one would “kill” the stolen smart phone with this feature (one not absent in all smart phones, it seems- people need simply to know their property by reading fine print).  Obviously the owner couldn’t call from the stolen phone to deactivate it, so one must contact the phone company another way to report it stolen.  I would imagine this only is verifiable with a police report, as well, or anyone could report anyone else’s smart phone stolen fraudulently: which means the thief has plenty of time to copy all the stolen data before you can officially kill the phone.  The kill switch, then, would not be prompt enough to matter if the thief has any idea what he or she is doing.

Thirdly, let’s consider how it would actually be deactivated.  The phone company would be needed to remotely switch it off, probably after locating it for possible recovery.  The federal government has already shown itself incapable of self-restraint with regard to its bullying of, or complicity with, the telecommunications industry.  It can and has unilaterally, and without warrant, used technology in phones to surveil and build legal cases against people.  Every one with a GPS can be used to locate a person of interest, with or without legal justification.  Now the industry itself proposes a means to kill peoples’ communication devices.  Should we really give telecommunications and the overbearing executive branch even more means to inhibit the common person?

** Just delete the final weird characters from the link, and it’ll work. I don’t know why they are there, but whatever… **

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