It has been reported that both Google and Microsoft will be adding kill switch functionality to their future phones.
This change would ensure that Android and Windows phones could be made utterly useless if they are stolen. Of course, the idea is that this stops people from stealing them in the first place.
The figures on mobile phone theft across the world are pretty shocking. For a start, US figures show that over 3 million devices were stolen in 2013, which was an increase of close to 100% on the previous year. In Europe, it has been suggested that 1 of 3 people in the continent had a mobile device either lost or stolen last year.
Theft Problems All Over the World
In other parts of the planet, mobile crime levels are just as worryingly high. In Colombia, for example, more than a million of these gadgets were stolen from their owners in 2013. Meanwhile, in South Korea the number of theft increased by 5 times in just the 3 years up to 2012.
Apple already offers this function on their phones and authorities in the US have been pushing recently for more devices to have this added. A study into the matter by the New York Attorney General has recently pointed out that have a kill switch means that a high value piece of electronics can instantly be converted into a “jumble of plastic and glass”.
So how would it work? There are really two different types of kill switch possible; the hard kill and the soft kill. The hard kill makes a device permanently unusable, while the soft version means that only authorised users can operate it. There are different points of view on the question of which would be a more suitable approach but adding some sort of kill switch has been shown to decrease the amount of thefts of mobile devices in the past.
What type of kill switch do you think should be added to phones?