The “Kill Switch”


BY SHARON BEARD


Every morning, millions of people board the subway paying more attention to their cellular phone than their surroundings. A passenger checks his or her email, and just before the doors close, a thief grabs his or her phone, He jumps onto the platform before anyone could catch him, and walks away with the passenger’s phone as the train pulls away.

There were 19,128 robberies in 2013 according to the New York City Police Department. More than 40% of all robberies in New York City involve smartphones and other cellular phones.

FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Chairman Julius Genachowski joined major police department chiefs, including New York City Police Commissioner Raymond E. Kelly,and the wireless industry to implement a database called the “kill switch” to prevent use of stolen phones.

Google Images
Google Images

According to the CTIA, participating cell phone providers will offer, at no cost to consumers, an anti-theft tool called the “kill switch” which will be available on all smartphones manufactured after July 2015.

The tool will disable the phone and wipe the data clean to prevent unauthorized use and resale of the device. This will help deter thieves from stealing phones and other devices.

The CTIA announced that the following cell phone providers will be participating in the voluntary commitment: Apple Inc., AT&T, Samsung Telecommunications America, Sprint Corporation, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless.

While the “kill switch” may help with cutting down phone theft, commuters should follow a few simple rules:

  1. Don’t walk and talk on your phone.
  2. If you have to use your phone, be aware of your surroundings.
  3. Don’t allow others to borrow your phone or device.

Last but not least, always make sure your phone is password protected.