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FCC Wants Smartphone Kill Switch On By Default

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Jun 11, 2015, 3:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today recommended that wireless carriers enable remote-locking and remote-data-wiping features by default. Most smartphones offer these features, but owners have to purposely turn them on. Wheeler would rather see the theft-prevention tools be turned on by carriers from the get go, and require users to affirmatively turn them off only if desired. "If implemented, these features will result in more consumers using these powerful features which, in turn, will mark a key milestone in combatting smart phone theft," said Wheeler. The use of such tools has resulted in a dramatic decrease in phone thefts in some areas, as locked phones are no good if resold. Wheeler is asking that carriers voluntarily support the Mobile Device Theft Prevention Working Group's "opt-out" recommendation. In so doing, the industry could create a national framework for these features that supersedes the current, disparate arrangement of state laws.





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