Apple, Samsung Sign on for CTIA’s Smartphone Kill Switch

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Apple and Samsung are among the smartphone makers that have agreed to comply with CTIA's guidelines calling for a "kill switch" that renders devices useless if lost or stolen. The agreement will take effect in July 2015, and for Apple, it won't involve much more than it already offers through its Find My iPhone feature.

Apple agrees to CTIA smartphone Apple agrees to CTIA smartphone "kill switch" guidelines

The CTIA is an organization that represents the wireless communication industry.

California law makers proposed a kill switch feature earlier this year to help curb the escalating problem of smartphone thefts during robberies. In San Francisco, for example, smartphones are stolen in 60 percent of robberies. In Oakland, that number jumps to 75 percent.

News that Apple is participating in the program came from the CTIA as part of their Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment announcement. The organization for wireless communication devices said companies that have committed to the program will include, or offer as a free download, the tools necessary to remotely deactivate and wipe their smartphone if it is lost or stolen, and to prevent anyone from reactivating the device.

Apple already offers that, plus the ability to track and send alerts to the device, as part of Find My iPhone. The feature is available for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.

The companies that have already signed on include Apple, Asurion, AT&T, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola Mobility, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, L.P., Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon.

[Some image elements courtesy Shutterstock]

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Tools to help smartphone owners protect their personal information if the device is lost or stolen are great, but it doesn't seem like Find My iPhone has done much to reduce iPhone thefts. It may be a little myopic for companies and law enforcement agencies to think that will change come July 2015.

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