Smartphone Industry Agrees to Anti-Theft Kill Switch

Nearly all of the major smartphone makers have committed to providing free anti-theft software beginning in July 2015.

Smartphone Industry Agrees to Anti-Theft Kill Switch Photo (cc) by ilamont.com

Smartphone users shouldn’t be powerless if their phones are stolen — and the wireless industry has finally agreed to do something about it.

Starting in July 2015, most smartphones sold in the U.S. will come with an anti-theft tool that will enable you to remotely lock your phone and wipe it clean of data, making it inoperable and useless to a phone thief. If your phone is recovered, you can use a special ID and password to reactivate it, CNET said.

Wireless association CTIA said the voluntary commitment by the majority of the phone manufacturers – including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung, among others – gives users the protection they need.

But San Francisco’s district attorney, George Gascon, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman don’t think it goes quite far enough. They said the proposed kill switch needs to be a default feature; instead, users have to opt in. According to Slate, they issued a joint statement, which said:

While CTIA’s decision to respond to our call for action by announcing a new voluntary commitment to make theft-deterrent features available on smartphones is a welcome step forward, it falls short of what is needed to effectively end the epidemic of smartphone theft.

Up until now, the wireless industry has been reluctant to install a kill switch in smartphones.

What do you think about the wireless industry’s commitment to provide free anti-theft software to users who want it? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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