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Minnesota enacts 1st law on cellphone disabling

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm •  Published: May 14, 2014
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The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association recently announced its members would strive to make the deactivation technology standard on phones manufactured after the middle of next year. Backers of legislative requirements want downloadable applications to be made available for existing devices, too.

Jamie Hastings, vice president for external and state affairs at CTIA-The Wireless Association, called Minnesota's law unnecessary in light of steps the industry has taken. Besides the deactivation technology its members are pursuing, Hastings in a statement cited stolen phones databases, consumer education campaigns and anti-theft apps. She said state-by-state technology mandates would ultimately stifle innovation.

The Minnesota bill also has a low-tech element that bars retailers from paying cash for used devices and requires them to keep records on those transactions. Merchants dealing in secondhand phones would have to document device information, require sellers to present identification and demand people attest that the phone they are turning in isn't stolen. In place of cash, sellers would receive a mailed check, electronic transfer or store credit.

Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, said the no-cash clause discourages people from trying to make a quick buck by unloading a stolen phone.

"That was the incentive for a lot of these criminals to take that phone or iPad and drop it in a kiosk or these stores," she said.