New study: $2.6 billion a year can be saved in the U.S. by adding a Kill Switch to smartphones

New study: $2.6 billion a year can be saved in the U.S. by adding a Kill Switch to smartphones
Consumers could save $2.6 billion a year if a Kill Switch is added to all smartphones, allowing a stolen phone to be remotely shut down. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Creighton University professor William Duckworth, Ph.D. Like many others who have studied the issue, including San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Duckworth believes that the threat of having a stolen smartphone completely shut off would lower the incentive for thieves to rip off Apple iPhones and other models.

Duckworth came to the $2.6 billion figure by saying that Americans spend $580 million a year to replace stolen phones, and pay $4.8 billion for premium insurance from their carrier. Duckworth believes that without having to worry about having their phone stolen at gun point, Americans will switch to lower cost insurance plans like Square Trade that don't cover stolen handsets. With a Kill Switch, the $580 million would not have to spent, and the lower cost insurance would save Americans $2 billion a year in premiums.


Both houses of Congress have seen bills introduced to mandate a Kill Switch, but neither side has scheduled a vote on the issue. The public wants a Kill Switch according to Duckworth. In fact, 99% of respondents to his survey are in favor of such a theft deterrent. So what's holding it up? According to San Francisco D.A. Gascon, the carriers don't want to lose the profits they are making on selling insurance that covers thefts. According to industry trade magazine Warranty Week, the top four carriers in the U.S. brought in $7.8 billion in smartphone insurance premiums last year.

source: CreightonUniversity via HuffingtonPost, Engadget

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15 Comments

1. Furbal unregistered

His public might want a kill switch. I sure as hell don't want to give the government anymore power

3. cncrim

Posts: 1571; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

If it will save life or detergent thief at gun point over stupid phone, I don't mind government has power over it.

10. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

no, you will mind, some day - you never want to give the govt control of something that can easily be taken care of by the people...or a person...I mean, have you heard about the NSA, recently?

14. neops

Posts: 297; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

First they tax you like a cow. Then they gift hundreds over hundreds of billions in taxes to rich people who said to the goverment in irony "please, tax us". Then, last year, they tried to make cellphone insurance MANDATORY, though expensive. Carriers said no. Now they accuse the carriers. In the mean time they order "independant" surveys from well payed "real" scientists to prove that stolen phones is a threat to personal data and the nation. Same time that NSA is snooping around collecting bulk data. Then others to "prove" how much cents can be saved by putting a killing switch. And that people not only want it but they EXPECT IT. Details of the survey are nowhere, only a summary. 1200 cellphone owners to decide for the rest of us. Then they put some senators to make the proposition. Instead of trying e.g. to reduce poverty so some people don't steal (how many, realy?). Then some attorneys or judges to deal with the issue. Then another survey and another until the pueblo is convinced. We ignorant idiots vassal citizens say "Wow, senators, attorneys and judges or even the president concern about my data safety and my wallet and my security. It mast be serius. I want that switch." How "theft becomes a non-issue" and will be no need for insurance to cover theft mr. professor of the University? Will phones REALLY stop being stolen or/and then hacked? Does anyone believe this? And if my phone is stolen? Are there now carrirer procedures or apps to track and lock the phone or not? How will i take it back if it is killed? Who will compensate me? Will I be left without phone, without insurance, only with my consent for a swich in the people's phones? We have to ask our selves: who is benefited from this? The goverment: is puting a killing swich to our phones. And who knows who else. Not us. (Remember Obama want to give bulk data to private companies because NSA is not good to have it?) Imagine your self in a protest or demonstration against the govermet. And goverment kills your phone. Or you are a jurnalist with some burning evidence. Does the members of the Congress want a killing switsh in their phones on goverment's / NSA's / carrier's hands?

2. cncrim

Posts: 1571; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

I want to know how the kill switch work before I make a judgement about this. My question is let's say a close friend know all information about the phone and one day he decide to play game and she/he decide to kill it. Will we have to buy a new phone?

8. Korgoth22

Posts: 17; Member since: Dec 21, 2013

If you have friends who make a habit of killing $700 phones as a "Game"... you need new friends...

4. freebee269

Posts: 542; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

this is what i dont understand about this. so say my phone got stolen and the thief doesnt know if i have a kill switch or not. how am i going to get my phone back if i dont know who took it or where it was taken to? wouldnt i still need theft insurance for this reason alone? by this logic if i didnt get theft insurance but still dont know where my phone is after it's been stolen, i'd be out of luck for having no theft insurance.

9. remtothemax

Posts: 260; Member since: May 02, 2012

I think the idea is if it was built into something like the iPhone 6 by default and it was one of the announced features, a snatch and run thief wouldn't bother with an iPhone 6. It won't help you get your phone back, but it would reduced theft over time because it wasn't worth the risk and effort to thieves. Especially if in four or five years it was in every phone, mobile phones wouldn't be worth bothering with as much. So in the short run, no it doesn't help you. But in the long run it could act as a theft deterrent.

5. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

I know how we can save $200 billion. How about we stop overspending on projects designated for military contractors like Raytheon who overbill us! Like the F-35, the damn thing is costing over a trillion dollars and the date keeps getting pushed back with international partners pulling out of the project, so guess who'll be footing the whole bill.. I'm sick of reading how the government came up with a new creative way to pinch a penny by yet again bending over the populace. If they're really so damn concerned with our financial well being why don't they stop tossing money left and right on their projects instead of selling out our freedoms for meager pennies. It doesn't take a genius to see the massive potential for abuse in such a measure. And looking at our damn governments track record, I won't be surprised if this project actually costs MORE while saving nothing.

7. express77 unregistered

they just want to make the people as their puppets, nothing more.

6. express77 unregistered

this is another process of spying.

11. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

yeah, pretty much....

12. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

no, dmb @55... If your phone is stolen, would you like to give it to the thief for free?

13. kingEngine

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 05, 2014

Comes with NSA app for improved location monitoring!

15. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

The real intent is to deny the people the means of communication to organize themselves. As in Cairo, Tunis, Tripoli, Kiev and, just this weekend, in Albuquerque, people relied on cell phones and the Internet to organize protests against the government. In Kiev, the protesters in the area even got a text threatening them to go home or else. A kill-switch would allow the government to disable all cell phones in an area. And why, why would anyone trust the government which spies on all its citizens to have control over his phone?

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