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February 12, 2015

Smartphone Kill-Switches ‘Reducing’ Thefts says Boris Johnson

Kill-Switch02Boris Johnson The Mayor of London says smartphone kill-switches are making London safer, but wants industry to make them compulsory.

Johnson is co-chair of the (SOS) ‘Secure our Smartphones’ initiative, which has campaigned for the mobile industry to introduce kill-switches, which render a phone unusable unless it is recovered by the original owner, as a theft deterrent.

Apple was the first company to implement a kill-switch in September 2013 while Samsung, Google and Microsoft have either introduced such a feature or have plans to do so, ensuring the majority of smartphones sold are covered.

In October 2014, instances of stolen mobile phones were 40 percent lower than the same month the previous year and the monthly average of phones stolen has halved since September 2013, resulting in 20,000 fewer victims in the capital annually.

kill-switch

Boris Johnson said;

“We have made real progress in tackling the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many major cities just two years ago. In London we convened the major phone manufacturers and urged them to do more to protect their own customers, and the advent of a kill-switch in late 2013, in conjunction with the enforcement efforts of the Metropolitan Police, has been key to this turnaround. The private sector has a responsibility to prevent crime and I am delighted that through the SOS initiative, global cities like London, New York and San Francisco are coming together to help solve our shared public safety challenges.”

Over in the USA, New York and San Francisco, US authorities have released information saying. In New York City, there has been a 16 percent overall drop in phone robberies between January 2013 and December 2014, while iPhone thefts fell by a quarter. Over the same period, San Francisco phone robberies fell by 27 percent, with stolen iPhones down by 40 percent.

Campaigners say that if all phones were covered by default, thieves would definitely know that the phone they were targeting would be useless if reported stolen and would have next to no resale value.

However, from July 1, all phones sold in California will be legally required to come equipped with a kill-switch. Manufacturers have indicated they will not make handsets specifically for the state, meaning compliant devices are likely to be sold across the US. Hopefully this mean that the EU will be asking for the same across all member states in the regulations that are in progress.

Source: BBC Tech News

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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini