The crackdown on smartphone theft has jumped another level after some of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers, as well as cellular carriers, signed a new pledge to combat this ever increasing problem.
The new pledge stipulates that companies who have signed, now pledge to help make it harder for thieves to steal smartphones by means of ‘kill switch’ applications.
Google, Apple, Microsoft, HTC, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and Huawei have all agreed to build their smartphones in a way in which it would be difficult for a thief to do anything with a smartphone once the so-called ‘kill switch’ has been engaged.
The idea is that the companies will make it possible for every smartphone user to remotely block and wipe their phones, should it be stolen. This will then in turn speed up the process of blocking your phone and rendering the device ‘unusable’ to the criminal.
Should the phone then be retrieved again, users will also have the option to restore all of their settings once the phone is back in the hands of it’s rightful owner.
This pledge is to come into affect in July of next year. In other words, these companies have promised that such a ‘kill switch’ option will be available on their smartphones being sold as of July 2015.
While there are current apps that already offer users this service – like ‘Find My iPhone’ and the Android Device Manager – the idea with the new pledge is to make it compulsory for manufacturers to offer such a service to the users, already built into the phone.
The ‘kill-switch’ operation has been in motion for quite some time, although it has been somewhat of a bumpy road. At first, many US cellular carriers did not wan tot sign on to the project, as they would be at risk of losing a lot of money from smartphone insurance. Should there be a ‘kill-switch’ button or app, users could most likely get their phone back. And not claim from insurance. It’s sneaky but it’s true.
However, according to Re/Code, five major US cellular carriers have signed this pledge along with Apple, Google and friends. No details yet as to which carriers have signed.
With the backing of major companies like these, it is inevitable that the crackdown on smartphone theft will rise. And that, of course, is a wonderful thing.