Theft of smartphones measurably decrease as "kill switch" features become more prevalent

Theft of smartphones measurably decrease as
Since manufacturers and platforms have made it easier to remotely wipe devices in the event they are stolen, reports of theft in three big markets have decreased dramatically.

In London, Mayor Boris Johnson has noted “real progress in tackling…smartphone theft” which had been skyrocketing at an alarming rate not only in London, but in large cities around the world. Smartphone theft has dropped by 50% according to statements by several London officials.

The state of California recently passed a law, which goes into effect later this year, requiring manufacturers to install some type of remote “kill switch” on their devices. A lot of OEMs saw that writing on the wall and have already been bringing that feature to the market.

In San Francisco, a hot bed for smartphone theft, has seen a 40% decrease in the number of stolen iPhones over the past year. New York City announced that reports of stolen iPhones has dropped 25% for the same period.

Apple, Samsung, and Google have all implemented ways to remotely “kill” a stolen smartphone in some shape or form. A similar feature will make its debut on Windows Phone devices later this year. The presence of a “kill switch” does not necessarily mean it is on the moment you take your smartphone out of the box, however.

The anti-theft measure is enabled by default on Apple iPhones, but that is not the case with all manufacturers. The Attorneys General of New York City and San Francisco, Eric Schneiderman and George Gascon respectively, along with London Mayor Boris Johnson, have called for such anti-theft features to be “opt-out” across the board.

source: Reuters



1. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

A kill-switch seems like a good idea, and probably useful initially, though eventually thieves will get used to it and bypass it, granted it will require more tech savvy then now, so might work, but yeah, I will wait and see.

2. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

The kill switch is not enabled by default for new iPhones. That implies an unactivated phone or one without an iCloud account is protected.

3. AlikMalix unregistered

I think they mean that it's part of an OS (iOS), and there's no other software to install or set up... Besides the point, when you get a new iPhone it asks if you want to connect to iCloud and have Find My Phone enabled...

4. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Not when you get it, when you set it up. Blackberries were doing it first, but... Yeah. Blackberries.

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