As always, this coin has more than one side -- "iPhone theft in New York City, San Francisco, and London is down by 19, 38, and 24 percent respectively compared to the same period in 2013. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says that iPhone theft 'plummeted' following the release of iOS 7 in September."
The linked EFF blog post seems long on hand-wringing and short on analysis. (Doesn't help that EFF's "deeplink" to the bill is 404 ; -) But the core of EFF's objection to the bill seems to be this: "SB 962 is not explicit about who can activate such a switch. And more critically, the solution will be available for others to exploit as well, including malicious actors or law enforcement," which is a reference to SB 962's language establishing that, "Any request by a government agency to interrupt communications service utilizing a technological solution required by this section is subject to Section 7908 of the Public Utilities Code."
But after reading the text of SB 962 and Section 7908 of the PUC, it's hard for me to credit EFF's fears. In particular, SB 692 mandates that the kill switch mechanism be "provided by the manufacturer or operating system provider" for any phone sold in the state; note that the onus falls on phone manufacturers, not carriers. Further, the switch can only be invoked by "an authorized user" (which term is undefined in SB 962, but p'bly doesn't mean cops.) OTOH, PUC Sec. 7908, which places conditions and restrictions on government entities seeking to interrupt service to individuals or within a geographic area, targets "Communications services," defined as "any communications service that interconnects with the public switched telephone network and is required by the Federal Communications Commission to provide customers with 911 access to emergency services" (in short, carriers, not manufacturers).
So, for example, since Verizon doesn't have your AppleID credentials, it does the cops/courts no good to ask/demand/order Verizon to flip the kill switch on your iPhone. And PUC Sec. 7908 limits the route for seeking individual service interruptions to carriers, so the EFF conclusion that, "In essence, SB 962 mandates the technical ability to disable every phone sold in California, and PUC Sec. 7908 provides the necessary legal roadmap to do the same" doesn't seem to pass the smell test.
(Aside: why does EFF get upset about this, but no objections that I could find to Minnesota's passage of a similar bill in May...is the Minnesota bill inherently less evil, or is it just because Flyover Country? ; -)