Senator Katie Sieben (DFL- Cottage Grove) and Senator Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis) combined efforts today on the Senate Floor to pass nation-leading protections for cell phone owners. The legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, will require any new smart phones sold in Minnesota that were manufactured after July 2015 to be preloaded with anti-theft functionality or the capability of downloading anti-theft software at no cost to the purchaser.
“Cell phone theft is a major concern here in Minnesota and around the country,” said Sen. Sieben. “This legislation, which is the first of its kind in the country, will help reduce the likelihood that people will be robbed of their smart phones.”
Sen. Dziedzic worked tirelessly this session to pass language that prohibits device dealers from using cash to purchase used electronic devices. Under the new language, a retailer would pay for the device through a mailed check, electronic transfer or store credit.
“We have seen a number of students on the University of Minnesota’s campus targeted and attacked because their cell phone or iPod is quick and easy money for the assailant,” said Sen. Dziedzic. “After working with students, community members and law enforcement, I believe this change will deter would-be thieves and keep our citizens safer.”
In their testimony on the legislation earlier this session, law enforcement stated that 40 percent of thefts and robberies in Minneapolis are related to smart phones; near campuses that number almost doubles. Nationally, one in three robberies involves smart phones, and cell phone related robberies are reportedly becoming more violent. If signed into law, Minnesota would be the first state in the country to offer these protections to cell phone owners.