Kill Switches Coming to Cell Phones to Help Lower Thefts - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Kill Switches Coming to Cell Phones to Help Lower Thefts

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Smartphones sold in the U.S. after July 2015 will have a so-called kill switch. The features will allow owners to remotely delete data and make their smartphone inoperable if the phone is lost or stolen.

"The idea is that...thieves won't want to steal phones because they won't have any resale value," says Lindsey Turrentine, CNET Editor-in-Chief.

Wireless makers and carriers agreed to the voluntary anti-theft measures. Phone thefts now account for one in three robberies in the U.S. Apple and Samsung already have lock and tracking features installed on their phones.

But some, including law enforcement officials, say the measures don't go far enough. "Now it's important to note these options are relatively passive. The software will be there either for you to either download or for you to turn on, but they won't be on automatically."

David Oderberg is a technology and security consultant for over 200 businesses. "The issue with any type of security or kill switch is what if a hacker gets onto your phone and turns it off for you, if you didn't intend to turn it off. Or if the hacker is able to piggy back off the technology and steal the data in your phone."

Lauren Rushing's smartphone was stolen at the airport. She lost valuable data, contacts and photos. But she says it didn't have anti-theft tools and says the new measures would bring her peace of mind. "I would really like that. Yeah, it would. It would have made that experience for me a lot less stressful."

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