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Bill would require 'kill switch' for smartphones

Future Smartphones LG Curve.jpg

In a foreshadowing of things to come, LG Electronics Inc. is boasting about the G Flex, a new smartphone with a curved display. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Two California officials have announced plans to introduce legislation requiring smartphones to have a "kill switch" that would render stolen or lost devices inoperable.

State Sen. Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said Wednesday that the bill will be formally introduced in January at the start of the 2014 legislative session.

Leno says smartphone theft is common on California streets, and the crimes are becoming increasingly violent. He says built-in anti-theft measures could deter thieves.

Earlier this year Samsung Electronics, the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer, proposed installing a kill switch in its devices.

But the nation's biggest carriers rejected the idea. The wireless industry says a kill switch isn't the answer because it could allow a hacker to disable someone's phone.