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Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Major Carriers and More Commit To Backing Anti-Theft Tech

April 15, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

With smartphone and tablet theft being proposed as a very real and growing problem, law makers and members of congress are seeking solutions to lower the number of potential accounts where violent crimes and such occur over mobile devices. What are the big name companies and the carriers doing to combat this issue and put some minds at ease? Starting today, they have committed to backing the use of anti-theft technology within these devices, with a proposed plan to begin selling such devices by the summer of next year.

Google, Apple, Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, Huawei, Motorola and of course Samsung, have all committed to producing and developing anti-theft tech to embed in future devices, and the US five largest wireless carriers are also on board, with the four largest being Verizon, ATT, Sprint and T-mobile. The commitment received mostly positive feedback, although California State senator Mark Leno has been harder to please and would rather see his proposed mandatory kill switch bill take effect, stating that the wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft.

Once we start to see devices with this sort of technology built in hit the streets, users would have a little more capability in protecting the data on their devices, allowing for such actions like remotely wiping data, and locking down the device to prevent future use by thieves. This wouldn’t be a measure that couldn’t be undone, as one person getting back their stolen or lost device could simply request that their carrier restore the device to its normal operating state. There are already somewhat similar options to this in place through apps, and at least one carrier-T-mobile-already allows for such similar security measures to be taken where the user of a lost device can report it stolen or lost, preventing any future use of a SIM card in the phone, meaning most of the devices features would be inoperable much like with this new technology. The measures agreed upon by the biggest OEMs in the mobile space as well the largest carriers here in the US is still quite a bit different than what Leno would have put in place, but we feel that users should have the option to reactivate the devices if ever recovered, where as the kill switch bill seeks to make this particular action impossible.