Smartphone Kill Switch

In 2015, smartphones will start coming equipped with a “kill switch.” This will allow users to remotely disable their smartphones and wipe the data. Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft with the five largest cellular carriers in the US have signed on voluntarily to the program.

All smartphones manufactured for sale after July 2015 must have this technology. This would deter thieves from taking mobile devices as they are rendered useless. HTC, Motorola, Nokia are among other makers who have signed up.

Users can erase contacts, photos, email and other personal information and lock the phone so it can’t be used without a password. The data will be retrievable if the owner recovers the phone.

Critics have accused cell phone carriers of being reluctant to do this as they would lose revenue from replacing and activating stolen phones.

Jody Victor