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Wireless carriers, smartphone makers agree to device kill switches

Wireless carriers and smartphone makers will offer voluntary kill-switches, in an attempt to avoid mandated legislation, to wipe/brick stolen smartphones

| Hacking & Security News | Posted: Apr 16, 2014 9:55 pm

Smartphone kill switches will be added to new devices by manufacturers and wireless carriers, but law enforcement officials are concerned the "baseline anti-theft tool" doesn't go far enough to prevent smartphone theft.


TweakTown image news/3/7/37099_01_wireless_carriers_smartphone_makers_agree_to_device_kill_switches.jpg


As part of the voluntary agreement, the CTIA-The Wireless Association says the functionality will be added starting after July 2015 - and can ship pre-loaded on smartphones, or as a follow-up download.


"We strongly urge CTIA and its members to make their anti-theft features enabled by default on all devices, rather than relying on consumers to opt-in," according to San Francisco district attorney George Gascon, a supporter of mandatory kill-switches, in a statement. "The industry also has a responsibility to protect its consumers now and not wait until next year."


There has been an active debate regarding kill-switches able to remotely wipe - and brick - lost or stolen devices, while consumers applaud the option if it doesn't cost anything, though carriers have been hesitant.

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