A smartphone “Kill Switch” now mandatory for South Korea

A smartphone “Kill Switch” now mandatory for South Korea
As a counter-measure to smartphone theft, the South Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning has introduced a new act which will force domestic manufacturers, such as Samsung, LG and Pantech, to include a “kill switch” of sorts in all smartphones targeted at the nation's market.

The kill switch is supposed to allow victims to remotely disable their device completely, which will hopefully serve as a deterrent. The new act has been live for a week now, and will remain in force until the second quarter of 2014, at which point, we guess, the South Korean government will go ahead and try to assess its effectiveness and whether it's worth going forward with it.

While Pantech has been incorporating the new function since February, both Samsung and LG will be forced to alter their manufacturing process to include the now mandatory switch. 

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21 Comments

1. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2280; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

If this switch replaces the menu button then it's bad news.

2. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

I thought the "Kill Switch" is a self destruct switch, which will blow up pesky smartphone theft's ass.

3. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2280; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I thought the same thing, too.

6. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

That would be possible in North Korea... I guess, but then again... their "smartphones" don't have internet access

13. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

They can incorporate a software that picks up SMS commands like the Avast-anti theft for smartphones.

14. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

you are correct.... I forgot about that.. Anyway I wouldn't have much to "protect" if I had a phone without access to internet... contacs, sms? I was trying to be funny... though I would really love to have a way to make the Li-ion battery on my phones explode by some sort of kill switch... I was already assaulted for my SGS3... so it would make me smile a bit after being robbed

4. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

I don't think this is a good idea. Why kill if you can still have the chance to recover it through the different connectivity features of the device? Why not just make that switch a feature that automatically activates GPS, wi-fi and other connectivity features to make the phone more trackable? Korea is a small country with almost every nook and cranny covered by GPS and even GLONASS. Also, only a very few thieves are techie enough to drastic measures to prevent the phone from being tracked. I think the Korean lawmakers are misguided here.

5. pellegrini

Posts: 84; Member since: Jun 14, 2012

Sure, but it isn't an easy task to recovery it. This would be a great feature to decrease the number of stolen phones.

8. Dadler22

Posts: 243; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

GPS tracking is pointless, I've located a lost iPhone before to an exact address and the police wouldn't do anything about it. I'd rather brick the damn thing so the thief gets the short end of the stick they deserve

10. ECPirate37

Posts: 347; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

I agree with Daddler. I'm lucky to have never had a phone stolen, but I've had friends that do (I do live in NYC where it seems 3 iPhones are stolen a minute; that is hyperbole). I've had one that tracked their phone to an address and the cops did nothing about it. I have lockout on mine, and if I couldn't track the phone and get it back within a couple of days; I would love the option to brick it if I didn't think I would be getting it back.

11. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

or we could all man up and kindly ask for the phone back!

7. volcano321

Posts: 20; Member since: Aug 08, 2013

Too little details to know if it's a good idea or not yet. If it's only applicable to Korean networks, stolen phones will just get shipped to China. If carriers require original owners to show proof before disabling, may affect used market, etc. Just enabling GPS/wifi on the phone would not make it easy to track. If it's in someone's place on private property, not sure if the police will get you a warrant for every such case.. don't think they'd trouble themselves doing that.

9. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

There are apps that do this now. This still won't prevent the phone to be used for parts. The best anti-theft tool is the owner not leaving it laying around.

12. Jobayer

Posts: 167; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

you don't say ? what about muggers, robbers ?

15. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

I'm sure few are lost by robbery. By far the majority are most likely setting it down and forgetting it some place.

19. Jobayer

Posts: 167; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

u clearly haven't lived in Asia , do some research on the web if you please its a big issue all over the world to .

21. Jobayer

Posts: 167; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

fyi this not the elections , we all pay for our phones and all problems should be acknowledged.

16. hypergreatthing

Posts: 44; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Because breaking down the components for cash is NEVER what people do. Because you just can't swap the ESN

17. a961009

Posts: 120; Member since: Aug 04, 2011

People in Korea hate about this!! And so do I!

18. meowcenary

Posts: 187; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

What is to stop CIV/FED/MIL GOV from hitting the kill switch for a Comms Blackout.....Well maybe not because they could use jammers built by Raytheon.

20. Tux_Alan

Posts: 74; Member since: Jan 30, 2013

Wow... Can't picture knowing what adress my stolen phone is at and dropping the matter cause.... The police won't do a thing.... Lol... Either way, a killswitch is a good idea as long as the rightful owner can undo the bricking...

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