Story 2015-03-28 5YDS Kill switches reducing smartphone thefts

Kill switches reducing smartphone thefts

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in mobile on (#5YDS)
Smartphone thefts are down 40% in London, 22% in San Francisco and 16% in New York, while iPhone thefts are down even further, since the implementation of "kill switches," which allow owners to completely deactivate a phone that has been lost, making a stolen device worthless.

Major smartphone companies were reluctant. Gascón said he had met with Apple executives and been "rebuffed." Frankly, the carriers don't gain anything from this service, and actually add customers when someone signs up with them using a stolen phone. As for the phone companies, every stolen phone is a potential new sale. Companies would never want to admit that stolen phones are good for their bottom line, but they don't have any good excuse for why they wouldn't voluntarily implement something. They only said that a kill switch had serious risks, including vulnerability to hackers who could disable others' phones. Meanwhile, Australian phone carriers have been doing it successfully since 2003.

"The significant decrease in smartphone thefts since the implementation of kill-switch technology is no coincidence," New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said in the press release. "Restricting the marketability of stolen cell phones and electronic devices has a direct correlation to a reduction of associated crimes and violence." Soon, all smartphones in the United States will have these features, as a California law passed in August will require all smartphones sold in the state to include kill switch technology, effectively requiring manufacturers to include the feature on all smartphones.
Reply 3 comments

Thanks California (Score: 2, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-03-28 11:42 (#5YN8)

I am sure the myriad Chinese/Shenzhen Android phones will be quick on implementing that feature just for the sake of California.

Re: Thanks California (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-03-28 14:32 (#5YWM)

Some of them cost $40. Get one, enable storage encryption. Worry less.

Re: Thanks California (Score: 4, Insightful)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-03-28 18:39 (#5Z6F)

California is 1/8th of the entire USA, both population-wise and economically. If it were a country, California would be the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world. That's not a market that anybody is going to overlook.