from the could-she-please-hire-a-technologist? dept
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.
First, putting such a kill switch into all phones almost guarantees that it will be misused and abused in some form -- whether by government officials looking to cut off communications (as has been done at the tower level) or by malicious hackers looking to kill a ton of phones. The kill switch is just too tempting a target. Second, the actual benefit of this is likely to be limited. Phones will still get stolen and people will figure out how to hack their way around the kill switch within hours of it existing. Third, there's simply no reason for a law here. There are numerous software products that allow individuals to effectively do this on their own if they so desire. Mandating it, and adding fines to mobile operators who don't offer such a thing seems totally unnecessary.
So, even if we assume the best, and believe that, with all of these laws, Senator Klobuchar has the best of intentions, could she please hire someone who understands basic technology before writing any more bad laws that will cause harm?