Thanks to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA),
Attorney General New York, Eric Schneiderman, and the District Attorney
of San Francisco, George Gascón, by next year, all cell phones must be
outfitted by the manufacturer with anti-theft kill switches.
Largent, president and CEO of the CTIA said:
"This agreement gives
consumers access to the best features and applications that meet your
specific needs while adding protection for their Smartphones and
containing valuable information."
...and other smartphone manufacturers have agreed to make sure their products are
pre-installed with kill switches and other security measures to 'protect
These apps and security features that render the cell phone unusable
can be remotely controlled should the device be stolen.
Earlier this year, California state senator
Mark Leno and Gascón
collaborated with other officials to
push legislation (SB 962) that would mandate a
"kill switch" be
implemented on mobile devices that have been stolen or lost.
"More than half the robberies in his city involve
theft of mobile devices."
He said the industry has debated the use of
deterrent technology for too long.
"The wireless industry must take action
to end the victimization of its customers."
The district attorney said:
"This is an important day for wireless
consumers everywhere. This legislation will require the industry to
stop debating the possibility of implementing existing technological
theft solutions and begin embracing the inevitability. The wireless
industry must take action to end the victimization of its
The legislation reads:
"A technological solution may consist of
software, hardware, or a combination of both … but shall be able to
withstand a hard reset."
stated that either the kill switch "or other protective features"
would be mandated by law and require re-registering of phones currently
not equipped with the device.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti explained that
"this legislation is critical to reducing robberies."
The solution is to implore cell phone manufacturers to implant a kill
switch so that,
"when consumers reported to providers
that their cellphone had been stolen, the phone, like a stolen
credit card, would be rendered inoperable."
The coalition will be comprised of:
"It is totally unacceptable that we have
an epidemic of crime that we believe can be eliminated if the
technological fixes that we believe are available are put into
"The industry has the 'moral' and the
social obligation to fix this problem. There are very few things
that can be fixed with a technological solution, and this is one of
Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of
Lookout, a mobile security corporation, warns:
"If there is a mechanism by which
somebody can remotely disable and brick a device, we don’t want that
to be a target for malware."
Lookout has collaborated with law enforcement agencies to build kill
switches on smartphones so that,
"all of a sudden if there were a way
that you can cause millions of devices to all of a sudden become
inoperable, that can be a huge amount of money if somebody attacks
(Big Brother in action, anybody agree...?)