November 19, 2013
Lawmakers in San Fransisco and New York have been working with cell phone manufacturers to include a kill switch on phones that would allow a user to deactivate their cellphone if it was stolen. However, the carriers have rejected the idea. With cellphone thefts on the rise and people actually getting killed for their phones, it seems like a reasonable request. If the cell phone was deactivated when stolen, the thief would not be able to sell it. This would stop future thefts. The kill switch would require collaboration between the cellphone manufacturers and carriers, but the carries are not on board.
The carriers are claiming the kill switch is not the answer because if a hacker took control of the phone, they could deactivate it, including phones belonging to law enforcement. They also said that if the deactivated phone was later retrieved by the customer, it would be unusable. However, that seems like little more than a weak excuse as Apple has the new feature, Activation Lock, that allows users to disable a phone if lost or stolen and reactivate with their username and password if the phone is retrieved.
The wireless carriers have worked with law enforcement in the past in response to the growing number of cellphone thefts by creating a database of cellphones reported stolen so they could be deactivated. Although it is contended that this database does not work because most of the stolen cellphones end up over seas where the blacklist has not meaning. Lawmakers have contended that carriers are not on board for the kill switch because it may decrease their earnings from cell phone insurance.
This was interesting. I had heard about the increase in cellphone thefts in the past, but did not really think much of it. I guess I do not live in an area where I have to worry about it as much. How interesting that the theft of Apple devices is called “Apple Picking” by law enforcement. I can see why Apple would want to create a feature that would help deter the theft of their devices. I would think it is bad publicity to have your consumers getting robbed and killed for your product. It would seem that cellphone carriers do not feel the same. It really is a shame that carriers would put the profits from insurance before the lives of their customers. It actually does not surprise me that Apple would create a kill switch before anyone else. They kind of do their own thing, only letting certain retailers sell their products and stuff. It makes me glad I am team Apple. Eventually, all cell phones will include a kill switch, they will get bad publicity if they won’t do it. It is just a matter of time.
I also just realized that this article included security features for iPhone and the other article I blogged about tonight was about Google cookies. The first two postings I did on the first week were about iPhone anti-theft features and Google cookies. It looks like my blog has come full circle for my last posting. Hope you enjoyed my blog.