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Police and others would have the ability to shut off cell phones anytime they wanted under a bill passed by California’s state legislature, privacy experts say.
Senate Bill (SB) 962 would require manufacturers to add a “kill switch” to cell phones that would let authorities turn the device off remotely. The stated goal of the bill is to allow owners of smartphones to “kill” their phone if it’s stolen, but privacy experts say the bill’s language could be twisted. Additional language was needed, they add.
“If you give law enforcement a tool that can be abused, you’ll have an instance of asking for forgiveness rather than permission,” Jack Laperruque, an expert on privacy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told The Hill. Laperruque believes authorities could use the kill switch to shut down communications during protests or incidents of civil unrest such as the riots in Ferguson, Missouri.