It may sound like a line out of a spy movie, but this is a real advancement in the quest for security in electronic devices. Thefts of smartphones have risen over the last few years, and politicians are scrambling to find a solution. A new measure might render the stolen devices useless.

Lawmakers in California are proposing new legislation that would require companies that produce smartphones to equip their devices with software that renders the device unlockable and non-resettable in case of theft. Hopefully, this will make the theft of these expensive electronics less desirable for thieves.

In Los Angeles, cellphone theft is up 12% since last year and nearly half the thefts in San Francisco involve mobile devices. Some of the thefts in cities across the country even resulted in the victim’s death.  

The new “killswitch” requirement proposal aims to stop this type of crime. Seems like a no-brainer right? Well, not everyone agrees. The wireless association CTIA is against the idea. Perhaps because they are compiling a database of reported stolen smartphones and a killswitch measure would step on their toes. They claim that hackers would use the software to disable phones remotely – a crime that seems to just cause havoc and yield no real profit.

Because iPhones are preferred, phone theft is called "apple-picking"

Lawmakers have been working with electronic giants such as Samsung, who agree to put the killswitch software in their newer phones. However, wireless providers refuse to sell any phones with this software. Stolen phones equate to more sales in a society where being disconnected is not only a faux pas but a major hindrance.

The bill won’t be introduced until January, so the New Year might feature a decrease in phone thefts that matches the increase of gym memberships.