Both Microsoft and Google have announced that they will be adding a kill switch feature to their next generation smartphones. The move really is a ‘no brainer’ since it makes sense and the laws are coming anyway.
Apple implemented kill switches in iPhones last September and according to New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, iPhone thefts have dropped by 19 per cent in the first five months of 2014. The same is true in San Francisco and London where thefts fell 24 per cent and 38 per cent respectively.
“The statistics released today illustrate the stunning effectiveness of kill switches and the commitments of Google and Microsoft are giant steps toward consumer safety,” Schneiderman said.
It’s a good idea and should have been implemented long ago. In fact there are many people out there who say they would like to take the concept further.
What if the kill switch would disable a phone but only after it turned on the camera and transmitted the video along with GPS coordinates to the police?
How about building in a feature that only lets someone call a ‘lost and found phone’ service number? If the original owner activates a lost phone signal to the device it would only allow calls to the lost and found. That way if you accidentally leave your phone somewhere and an honest citizen finds it, they can easily call the lost and found number and arrange to return the device.
Or better yet, what if it were a true kill switch? If no one calls the lost and found number after a day or two (or if you know for sure someone stole the device) you go to phase two and activate the true kill switch.
The minute someone tried to use the device it sets off an alarm and warns the bad guys that the device will explode in five…four…three…two…one…BOOM!
Of course if the police had the time, resources or inclination to do so, they could easily use a stolen smartphone’s GPS feature to track down the thieves and arrest them – but I guess that would make too much sense.