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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.

Published Wed, Apr 16 2014 4:55 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:17 PM CST

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.

Wireless carriers, smartphone makers agree to device kill switches |

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.

An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog,, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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