Law Enforcement Pushing for Smartphone Kill Switch as Next Theft Deterrent System

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News Posted: Fri, Jun 14 2013 12:28 PM
Sure, you may have only payed $50 for your smartphone, or even picked it up for free after agreeing to a two-year service agreement with a wireless carrier, but the true value is much higher than whatever subsidized price you paid. That's something you'll quickly find out if it's ever lost or, worse yet, ends up stolen. Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do if your phone gets swiped, though law enforcement officials are hoping to change that.

According to an AP report, the hot topic right now is that of implementing a so-called "kill switch" functionality into smartphones. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that 33 percent of all robberies in the U.S. involve mobile phones, and "all too often, these robberies turn violent."

Stolen Phone Newspaper
Image Source: Flickr (gruntzooki)

Schneiderman compared a kill switch to that of being able to cancel a stolen credit card. Not only would it render the stolen phone useless, but if all phones had a kill switch, it might also serve as a deterrent since the value on the black market would plummet, or so that's the hope.

Apple recently announced that it plans to implement some kind of similar feature into iOS 7, due out this fall, though the company didn't elaborate on how it will work.
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KWilkins replied on Fri, Jun 14 2013 12:49 PM

of course all in the name of protecting the citizens and their merchandise? Yeah, or more like protecting the cops from being recorded and / or killing all communication so people can't warn others... Transparency at its best...

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I think it's a pretty good idea, should be something the consumer themselves could do, like go online and disable it, or call the manufacturer etc. Parents may even like this idea...get your kid an iPod/iPhone for their birthday and find out kids and smart gadgets don't mix well/ruin them socially? there you go... don't shut your wifi off... kill their device instead! (Yes, I am having that exact problem with a 13 year old with an iPod... lol)

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lipe123 replied on Fri, Jun 14 2013 2:15 PM

No what should be done is the criminals should be dealt with. Cellphone theft is the ultimate honeypot for cops and what we really need is expedited systems for tracking authorizing etc.

My dad had his phone stoled 4x and each time went through the looong annoying process of getting a court order to get the police to trace the phone, every time they got the phone back in a matter of days since you can home in on these things really easily with the call tower signal triangulation.

I think it would send a MUCH stronger message to criminals if you catch and punish them than to essentially go "Okay you got us criminals we cant deal with you so we'll just make it that when you steal a phone and beat someone senseless that the phone will lose its value"

Not to mention that by the time you got home and filed a report the phone could already have been sold and this whole kill switch thing would have accomplished nothing.

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AVG Mobile allows you to lock your phone from a remote location and locate where your phone is while it is turned off

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Just like everything else, this is propaganda. They want you to think that they will ONLY use it for good.....Right. I doubt that. Next they will be turning off phones on citizens in the name of "terrorism." I would never trust the government with this power.

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