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Concerns Over California’s Smartphone Law

California companies that allow employees to use their smartphones at work will now have to deal with two new state laws that were introduced this August.

The new bill signed by governor Jerry Brown mandated all smartphones sold in the state must now have a “kill switch” installed. The kill switch will remotely disable phones if they are lost or stolen. The state’s Court of Appeal also requires employers to reimburse their employees who use their cell phones for work-related calls if it is lost or stolen. Installing a “kill switch” to all U.S. sold phones is expected to soon be seen in a number of states across the nation.

The establishment of this new law has now become more complicated and costly than companies had hoped for in California. Most companies have the ability to wipe clean all company data from an employee’s phone or portable device if it is stolen. However, the kill switch gives employee control over when the device is disabled, leaving the employer unable to make a decision.

In addition, the kill switch does not wipe all the data when disabled, which leaves some employers worried about security, especially those with health and financial data on their devices. Personal smartphones are left very much open to data theft compared to a company owned smartphone.

The other large concern is reimbursing employees for their personal devices. Now that the law is in place, companies will need to decide which employees must be reimbursed, and consistent standards for the rules. Companies are also starting to see the complications in having a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. Most thought this would a cost-cutting method since most people nowadays have a smartphone and/or tablet. Because personal devices are not as secured as company owned technology, many are spending money buying software to keep employee devices from being hacked.

Because of the changing landscape of technology at the workplace, some employers may start to rethink their BYOD policy in terms of costs and security. Technology theft numbers have spiked tremendously, which concerns many companies that hold important information and data, and a possible breach in security. Because of this new California law, it is expected to see company policies changing rapidly, and choosing to spend more money on company-owned devices to prevent a loss in information.

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