‘Kill switch’ bill pushed for sake of phone robbery victims
A lawmaker is proposing a “kill switch” that will not only disable and delete private data stored in stolen cell phones, but also make the gadgets useless for future users.
Ang Mata’y Alagaan party-list Representative Lorna Velasco has filed a bill requiring cell phone network service providers to preinstall a “kill switch” software in their units to enhance the security and privacy of postpaid subscribers.
The software would allow telecommunication companies to “remotely and permanently disable and erase all data and private information” on mobile phones reported stolen, rendering the devices useless for the next user.
Velasco said House Bill No. 4511, the proposed “Kill-switch Phone Security Act of 2014,” would address the growing incidence of breaches in security and privacy as a result of cell phone theft.
“Undeniably, the use of mobile phones permeates the daily lives of a large portion of our country’s population. The large number of cell phones, unfortunately, gives rise to crimes involving theft and robbery thereof,” she said.
“These criminal acts not only endanger the physical safety of victims but also compromise the security of the personal and private information stored in the stolen devices’ memories,” Velasco said.
She added that the enactment of the proposed law would effectively weaken, if not eliminate completely, the black market for stolen mobile phones.
“In this present age of constant change and intensive use of ever-evolving technology, it is incumbent upon us to enact laws that respond timely and appropriately to new safety and security challenges,” Velasco said.
Under the bill, all cell phone network service providers shall equip all mobile phones they provide to postpaid users with the software.
The network service provider, however, shall disable and erase all data through a remote system only upon the request of the registered subscriber and after proper verification.
“The kill switch software shall in no case be utilized for other purposes other than the prevention of the unauthorized use of a third party,” the bill states.
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