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House votes to require ‘kill switch’ on smartphones

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ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House on Thursday adopted a bill requiring new smartphones bought or sold in Minnesota to have a “kill switch” to disable them in the event of theft.

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The Senate passed a similar measure earlier this month. The bill heads back to the Senate for concurrence or formation of a conference committee.

The requirement would apply to phones manufactured after July 1, 2015.

Bill sponsor Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said smartphones are increasingly the target of theft and that the bill allows the owner of a stolen phone to “turn this thing into a brick.”

Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, said the industry is already taking care of the issue. Last month, wireless companies announced they would add kill switches to their phones starting next year.

The House adopted the bill 73-58.

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