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Family Backs ‘Kill Switch’ Requirement For Smart Phones, To Deter Thefts

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(CBS) – The family of a Wheaton woman who was killed for her smart phone two years ago is pushing legislation that would discourage similar crimes.

CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports.

Megan Boken’s father and sister say they don’t want another family to be subjected to this type of senseless violence. On Monday, they stood with New York leaders to back a new proposal that would mandate the installation of “kill switches” in future smart phones.

Just 23 years old, Megan had so much to live for. In 2012, the west suburban resident and volleyball champ left home to visit St. Louis to participate in an alumni game.

She was shot and killed in broad daylight for her cell phone.

“She paid the ultimate price because someone wanted to steal her brand-new iPhone,” her sister, Annie Palazzolo, said.

New York leaders announced their support of a federal bill that would require cell phone makers to place “kill switches” in smart phones. Those switches could be remotely activated, making the device useless if stolen.

“What we need is a kill switch that enables you to clean the information off your phone and cancel it like a credit card, once it’s stolen,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

Boken’s family feels this proposal has the power to reduce the number of smart phone thefts.

“There’s an active and lucrative market for stolen cell phones. I can think of no other situation where a person can take something from someone else and turn it into cash faster than with a stolen smart phone,” Megan’s father, Paul Boken, said.

The Smart Phone Theft Prevention Act is now being introduced in the U.S. House after being introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Illinois State Sen. Toi Hutchinson has proposed a state law that would mandate kill switches for devices sold in Illinois.

State lawmakers in California are considering a similar measure.

According to the FCC, smart phone thefts account for one of out of every three thefts.

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