A bill that requires all new smartphones sold in California to come loaded with a "kill switch" passed the legislature on Monday and is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.
This anti-theft technology, already available on some cellphones, allows the owner to lock the device if it's lost or stolen – making it useless and worthless to a thief.
"Our goal is to swiftly take the wind out of the sails of thieves who have made the theft of smartphones one of the most prevalent street crimes in California's biggest cities," Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) who authored the bill, said in a statement.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón pushed hard for this bill, noting that more than half of all robberies in his city last year included the theft of a smartphone. He commended the legislature for "standing up to the wireless industry "and voting to protect the safety of their constituents.
"The manufacturers have indicated that they will implement this technology nationwide with passage of this bill, and with organized crime rings shipping smartphones stolen in the U.S. overseas, passage of this legislation will have implications for public safety around the globe," Gascón said in a statement.
A survey by Consumer Reports projected that about 3.1 million smartphones were stolen nationwide last year.