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Smartphone Industry Introduce the “Kill Switch” To Reduce Thefts

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Last Updated: May 24, 2017

Major players in the smartphone industry announced on April 15 they will introduce the new anti-theft technology to reduce the increasing number of smartphone robberies in the United States of America.

Smartphone manufacturing companies said they would provide free anti-theft features called the “kill switch” in all the smartphones created after July of 2015. This new technology allows users to delete data if their smartphones get stolen and it locks the device so that it won’t be used if it gets to other people’s hand.

Authorities expect something better

Though the smartphone industry’s voluntary commitment is for a good cause, the authorities are not quite satisfied. What the law enforcement officials’ want is a kill switch which automatically renders the phone useless without the needing the user opting-in to use.

Since it renders useless if stolen, thieves would think it is futile to steal smartphones. That way, cases of smartphone robberies will decrease, according to officials. It will undercut the robbers’ profit from selling the insurance of the phone.

According to consumer reports, in 2012 alone, there were some 1.6 million phones being stolen in the US. This number increased significantly in 2013 spreading to major cities like San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York.

California State Senator Mark Leno, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman all said that the voluntary commitment by the smartphone industry is an important step in reducing smartphone theft. However, they all agree that the “kill switch” the industry invented is still inadequate.

Smartphone industry initially opposed the idea

Wireless companies opposed the idea of creating “kill switch” at first because they fear hackers might take advantage of it and use it to disable phones that belong to important personnel.

This voluntary commitment to reduce cases of smartphone robberies by creating a Kill Switch was signed by companies including Apple, Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint.

Wireless Association CTIA President Steve Largent said the consumers must have a wide variety of option with the anti-theft features of the “kill switch to avoid hackers and other criminals from taking advantage of this new technology.”

Largent said consumers could get the best features and apps that best fit their individual needs while protecting their smartphone along with all the important information in it.

Samsung has already announced that its Galaxy S5 will have the new anti-theft technology that could disable a phone when stolen. This app is the same as Apple’s Activation Lock, which the company introduced last year.

According to studies, a “kill switch” can help consumers save a total of $2.5 billion every year for replacing phones and paying insurance premiums.


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