I have to agree with Techdirt, whenever Klobuchar presents legislation involving technology everybody “should run screaming for the hills.” Her history on technology-related bills makes it obvious that she doesn’t actually understand the technology she’s attempting to legislate. Her latest attempt at infusing the state with our technology is a bill that would require mobile phone manufacturers to include a kill switch that can be remotely actives in all of their phones:
Her latest move is to propose a bill that would mandate a kill switch in all mobile phones that could be activated remotely. The idea, here, is that this would allow those who had their phones stolen to disable them, rendering them (sorta) useless. It seems that, as with the other bills discussed above, Senator Klobuchar introduces these with the best of intentions, but with no clue about how technology works, or the likely “unintended” consequences of such things.
This legislation mandates what Apple is already doing, include a mechanism for iOS customers to render a device unusable should it get stolen. If this feature isn’t already included in Android and Windows Mobile I’m sure it will be soon. But the choice of including such a kill switch should be made by the manufacturer because, get this, some customers don’t want a remotely activated kill switch in their communication device. Such a feature could easily be abused. How easy would it be for a police force to call up a mobile phone manufacturer and tell them to disable all of their customers’ phones in an area where a protest is taking place?
Remote kill switches, like everything else in the universe, have positives and negatives. For some people the positives outweigh the negatives and they seek a devices with a remote kill switch. The opposite is true for other people, which causes them to seek out a device that doesn’t have a remote kill switch. I know it’s difficult for a statist to understand that the human race isn’t like an ant colony. Each person is an individual who had different wants and needs. Some of us want to order a giant rib eye steak and some of us want to order a salad. The choice should be left to the individual making it not mandated by some asshole in a marble building.