‘Kill Switches’ Help to Reduce Smartphone Theft

Mobile ID Industry News Roundup: Biometric Clothing and The Evil WithinThree major cities are reporting substantial drops in incidents of smartphone theft thanks to the new ‘kill switches’ being installed on various mobile devices, according to a Reuters article by Sharon Bernstein. The kill switches allow users to remotely turn off their phones in the event of theft.
Apple started installing the kill switches in September of 2013, and in the twelve months since iPhone thefts were down 25 percent in New York, 40 percent in San Francisco, and by half in London. Meanwhile, a law mandating the installation of kill switches is about to go into effect in California, and smartphone theft is already decreasing there in anticipation of its implementation. Samsung and Google have also implemented kill switches on their mobile devices, and Microsoft is hoping to have theirs ready this year.
While the kill switch is undoubtedly important in decreasing these thefts, another contributing factor may be the increased security offered by biometric technology. All new mobile Apple devices, for example, have built-in fingerprint scanners that can be used for unlocking them, and Samsung, Google, and even low-end smartphone makers have followed suit. This kind of security – along with the kill switch – will only increase in importance as mCommerce gains in popularity around the world.