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California Kill Switch Bill Targets Phone Thieves
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mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
2/17/2014 | 3:36:24 PM
Re: Dumb.
@IrwinBusk

A stupid law, to protect stupid people, from thier stupid mistakes."kill switch" capability is readily available to those who want or need it.

A little harsh, aren't you? Moreover, your statement is too broad to be of much value.
I'm curious about the kill switch that is already available. Could you expand on that?

 

 
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2014 | 8:28:20 PM
The contingency is an error
If requiring GMO products to be labeled as such is good policy (and I would certainly be in favor of it as long it's not too hard to determine whether it is or isn't), then state legislatures should do it, regardless of whether other states follow (if it works well, other states probably will follow).  Thus, contingency clauses constitute "putting the cart before the horse", in a very real sense.

 
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2014 | 8:22:47 PM
Re: Law needs to be thought through
But customers should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want the capability and how much they're willing to pay for it.  The bigger priority is a more competitive market and we can only get there by *lowering* barriers to entry instead of raising them.

 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/10/2014 | 8:12:33 PM
Re: Law needs to be thought through
You make a good point: As attached as people are to their phones these days, you'd likely recognize your device is gone before a culprit (if it was stolen) had an opportunity to strip it for parts. Tracking software is a worthwhile investment, and technology that's available today, too.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2014 | 7:24:37 PM
Re: I'm not at all sure I'm in favor of this
The Invisible hand does work, though sometimes slowly, and it's much more general than "pro-business" types are usually willing to admit.  But I think the important thing to remember is that *every* participant in the market is part of it, giving us all some responsibility for how well it works (people might want to consider how their buying and selling habits affect the market as a whole instead of assuming that the right things will happen automatically).

 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2014 | 7:04:26 PM
Re: I'm not at all sure I'm in favor of this
@jries921, yes, it's not altogether simple. What you said made me think of the GMO food labeling controversy. Last year a state law calling for it failed to pass in California, as it did earlier in Washington state. However, it did pass in Connecticut at the end of last year, as it did in Maine in January. For both theose states, the measure is contingent on it passing in additional states in the NE.  However, even while it fails to pass (for whatever pressures are at work) a number of major food companies, particularly cereal makers like General Mills, Post, and Kellogs, are publicizing their own GMO-free products, bowing to public pressure even without legal mandates.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2014 | 6:49:47 PM
Re: I'm not at all sure I'm in favor of this
I think we tend to think of the Invisible Hand a bit too narrowly.  In a truly free market, it will rarely be necessary for governments to intervene, but many markets are oligopolistic (ie. not really free), making collusion and manipulation a lot easier than they are in the highly competitive markets Adam Smith properly preferred (that and it's rarely the case that consumers and workers have all of the data they need to make informed decisions, but Smith's model assumes perfect infornation).

But if lots of people are unhappy with how the market is functioning, it creates pressure for governments to intervene (especially in a democracy) and I think that too is part of the Invisible Hand.  Hence, I think politicians and regulators  should work to make markets as free and competitive as they reasonably can be (it would end up reducing the work they have to do), undertanding that judicious intervention may sometimes be necessary to bring that about and that large employers and vendors have a built in advantage over workers and consumers in that there are a lot more of the latter than the former and the former are a lot richer (general relativity has definite applications to both economics and political science).

 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/10/2014 | 5:40:22 PM
Target is phone thieves but lots of collateral damage
It'a a pain to log in to your phone each time you want to use it. But it accomplishes much of the purpose of a kill switch, without the switch. I'll stick with my log-in password and skip lobbyingfor a kill switch.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/10/2014 | 3:46:04 PM
Re: Kill Switch could be a very good idea
But what about the instances in which you're involved in an accident? While I understand your arguement for it doing some good, I'm still not sure this would be a good move. Be wary of your surroundings and resist operating your phone while driving. As a reader above mentioned, a "kill switch" is protecting people from their mistakes.
Petar Zivovic
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Petar Zivovic,
User Rank: Strategist
2/10/2014 | 1:32:20 PM
Law needs to be thought through
Lots of good commentary here.

I have several thoughts on this.

First, in reply to the user who stated below, "...phones could be set to automatically cease operation in the proximity of a car's driver seat, making it impossible to text or call while driving..." Ok, despite best intentions, an accident occurs anyway for an unrelated reason. I go to call 911 and/or family for help...oh wait, I CAN'T. My phone's disabled. For this reason, in my opinion, this is a well-intentioned idea that isn't a good one when set to an absolute like that.

Second, in reply to the article, where the third paragraph starts: "The bill stipulates that the physical action necessary to disable the kill switch may only be taken by the rightful owner of the device or a person designated by the owner..." The problem with this also well-intentioned approach is, if the technology exists in the phone so the owner can disable it, chances are the thieves will figure out how to work that function to disable it. This puts us right back where we started. That alone makes this law likely an exercise in futility, in addition to the points made later in the article.

Finally, I'm with Mr. Preston on this. Businesses can make an offering and people will pay if they really want it. In general, consumers want more choice, not more mandatory features shoved down their throat (and the associated costs).

I do pay for tracking software to find my phone in case it's lost/stolen. A PIN is required to unlock it. Encryption software protects my sensitive data. If a thief is savvy enough to wipe my phone and/or strip it for spare parts before I can remote find/kill it, so be it. But if all I did is misplace my phone, I can at least find it again. Case in point: I wish this feature was available on my wife's older phone last week. She dropped it in the snow just outside the garage but didn't realize it was missing until she had gone to half a dozen places. This feature would have eliminated all places to search except home, narrowing the search tremendously, and we probably would have found it within the hour instead of half a day later.

Based on the above, the proposed law is not only unnecessary, it creates a burden that will help few (if any) and harm many. Therefore it would not make a good law & should not be passed.
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