Police want ‘kill switch’ for smartphones
May 06, 2013
An epidemic of cell phone swiping has prompted calls for a ‘kill switch’ that would render mobile devices inoperable if they end up in the wrong hands.
In San Francisco, California, half of the robberies reported in the last year involved the loss of a cell phone. George Gascon is the city’s district attorney and says things don’t have to stay that way.
“Unlike other types of crimes, this is a crime that could be easily fixed with a technological solution,” Gascon told the New York Times recently.
Apple’s iPhone and other smartphone models retail new in stores for hundreds of dollars apiece, and they are far from worthless on the black market. According to the Times, smartphones sold on the street in San Francisco can fetch upwards of $500, substantially less than a brand new iPhone 5 will set a customer back. But would that be any different if, say, stolen cell phones couldn’t be used again? Gascon and others think so and are calling on cell phone companies like Apple and others to implement a new technology that could remotely turn off a stolen phone for good.
“We know that the technology can be developed to prevent this. This is more about social responsibility than economic gain,” he added to the Associated Press.