Senator Asks Carriers to Explain Kill Switch Decision
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has written a letter to the CEOs of the country's five largest wireless network operators requesting that they do more to help curb cell phone theft. Klobuchar points out that nearly one-third of all robberies involves a cell phone, and stolen mobile devices take a $30 billion toll on consumers each year. Lawmakers in California and New York recently attempted to convince the carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless) to add kill switches to their devices. The tool would allow consumers whose devices are lost or stolen to permanently deactivate their phone. Lawmakers believe that this will help curb the illegal resale of cell phones and eventually reduce robberies. Samsung developed such a kill switch, but carriers shot the idea down over fears of lost insurance revenue. "Your five companies [serve] more than 90 percent of the nation's wireless subscribers," wrote Klobuchar. "With that market share comes an obligation to do all you can to utilize technologies available to protect consumers. While I understand your companies are continuing to work with law enforcement on the stolen cell phone database, it is clear that consumers want and deserve a comprehensive strategy to prevent mobile device thefts." Klobuchar asked the carriers to send her information about any offers made by handset makers to add kill switches, and why they didn't adopt them; information on whether or not the carriers have considered devices with features similar to Apple's activation lock; and details on how each company will include kill switches on future products at no cost to consumers. Klobuchar gave the carriers until January 9 to respond.
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California Signs Smartphone Kill Switch Into Law
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that will mandate all smartphones to come with a kill switch by July 2015. The law's goal is to curb smartphone thefts.
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to Have Kill Switch
Apple's new iPhones will include a kill switch that owners can use to remotely lock or wipe them, reports Reuters. The feature has been part of iOS for several years, but the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will have the feature turned on by default.
Permanantly disable it? Why not do the exact same thing, but be able to reactivate it if you want, maybe with a password or encryption key of some kind that you could enter on a website?
Lost revenue? If you use the kill switch you'll STILL have to make an insurance claim! Seems lost revenue would be $0.
The Senate is pretty useless and should be abolished. These people very obviously don't live with the common people, and have no idea what their wants and needs are.
How would they lose money?
How is phone software their responsibility? Anyone who wants this sort of thing can already get it.
See, Look, we are doing work!
Apple already has an actvation lock built into the icloud, and there are tons of apps that offer remote lock. AND if the phone is reported lost or stolen (on CDMA anyway) it cant be reactived.
Sounds like they are just trying to pretend they are doing something so they look busy.