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The smartphone industry pledges to stop phone theft

The smartphone industry pledges to stop phone theft
Photo courtesy of shutterstock

According to recent Consumer Reports, 1.6 million phones were stolen in the U.S. in 2012, and that number increased in major cities in 2013.

With that stat in mind, it's a little surprising that the smartphone industry would be reluctant to implement anti-theft technology that could significantly reduce smartphone theft. Why would they do that? From the Huffington Post:

Wireless companies initially opposed the idea of introducing smartphones with stronger anti-theft technology, expressing concerns that a hacker could misuse a kill switch to disable stolen phones belonging to emergency personnel. But law enforcement officials have pressed companies to do more to reduce thefts and suggested that wireless carriers blocked a kill switch because it could undercut their profits from selling phone insurance.

So after months of dragging their feet, and pressure from consumers and lawmakers alike, the major players - Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung -  have made a "voluntary commitment" to have a mandatory kill-switch built into all smartphones made after July 2015.

The agreement also included wireless carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

The mandatory kill switch will allow users to remotely wipe data and from a stolen or lost smartphone. The kill-switch also allows users to lock the phone so it can't be used again.

However, July 2015 is unacceptable for some. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, released the following statement:

“We strongly urge CTIA and its members to make their anti-theft features enabled by default on all devices, rather than relying on consumers to opt-in ... The industry also has a responsibility to protect its consumers now and not wait until next year.”

Source: The Huffington Post
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