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Ovation: Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment.

04/16/2014

KillSwitchLong before the days of identity theft and privacy regulations, I used to live in constant fear of losing my wallet.  I didn’t carry much but, like most everyone that I knew I carried my driver’s license, some cash, a department store credit card and a gas credit card along with a library card and a video store rental card.  I also carried a spare car key and a spare house key in my wallet.

While I certainly worried about losing any cash that I might have in my wallet, and if it were to be stolen, any charges that a thief might make on my credit cards, but mostly I was afraid that anyone who found my wallet would immediately know where I lived and have a key to my house.  If they were criminal enough to steal a wallet, I thought, they’d surely rob a house.  But still, I thought it was more prudent to carry the spare key with me than to leave it under a flower pot on the porch.

Today, carrying a wallet is quickly becoming a nostalgic pastime.  Billfolds, wallets, purses and pocketbooks are quickly being replaced by smart phones, tables and other handheld devices that store more information than we could possibly carry in a wallet.

If anyone had told me back then that there would one day be a way to make everything in my wallet disappear if it was lost or stolen I would have thought them crazy.  I would have been wrong because, after July 2015, all smartphones manufactured for sale in the United States will be equipped with new “kill switch” technology.  The feature would let a phone’s owner erase contacts, photos, e-mail and other information, and lock the phone so it can’t be used without a password.  The kill switch is expected to be offered at no cost to consumers and will prevent phones from being reactivated without an authorized user’s consent.  Any data stored on the phone, however, would be retrievable if the owner recovers the phone.

Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft, along with the five biggest cellular carriers in the United States are among those companies that have signed on to a voluntary program announced earlier this week called the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment”.

Apparently, the wireless industry is finally agreeing to do something to deter smartphone thefts in the United States.  It seems to me that this could work.  Not even the most foolish of thieves would steal a wallet if they knew in advance that it was going to be empty.

Do you think the “kill switch” is a good idea?

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3 Comments
  1. thedogs'mother permalink

    A good idea but I think it will be a ways before your basic criminal will figure that angle out.

    Like

  2. mary permalink

    what does that have to do with money or a wallet getting stolen. ?

    Like

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