Apple Leading By Example In Smartphone ‘Kill Switch’ Campaign

activationlockiOS7

Apple is one of several tech giants to enter a voluntary agreement to add a global anti-theft “kill-switch” to their handsets from July 2015.

Other companies on board include  Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung — while carriers have reportedly agreed to help “facilitate these measures.”

Apple’s support of the need for a kill-switch doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. The company added an Activation Lock with iOS 7, designed to make it tougher for thieves to use stolen iOS devices. The feature allows users to remotely locate, lock and wipe their iPhones if they are stolen.

According to survey data released in December last year, around 78% of iPhones are now protected by Activation Lock.

But not everyone is happy about the move. While everyone appreciates the severity of the iPhone stealing epidemic, California state Senator Mark Leno thinks the “opt-in” nature of the agreement doesn’t go far enough, and is seeking mandatory measures.

Leno notes:

“The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft. Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”

Do you think anti-theft measures go far enough?

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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