Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Carriers say they support mobile kill switch effort

However, the executives stop short of endorsing a Senate bill requiring them to install kill switches on mobile devices

Article comments

Executives with three U.S. mobile carriers have voiced support for an effort in the U.S. Congress to encourage mobile carriers to offer services to customers that would render smartphones and tablets inoperable if they're stolen.

Executives with Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and C Spire Wireless all said Wednesday they're taking steps to offer kill switches on mobile devices they sell to consumers, although they stopped short of endorsing a bill that would require mobile carriers to offer kill switch services.

The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, earlier this month. It would require mobile carriers to provide customers with optional kill switch services.

About a third of thefts in the U.S. now involve mobile devices, Klobuchar said during a hearing about mobile competition. She used part of her questioning time at the hearing to ask the mobile executives about her bill, noting that Apple's iPhone 5 allows customers to recover their data from stolen phones.

Thefts are on the rise because smartphones "are fetching between [US]$100 and $500 on the international market," Klobuchar said.

Verizon Wireless is working with app developers and device manufacturers to develop kill switch capabilities, said Randal Milch, general counsel at Verizon Communications.

"We are eagerly awaiting kill switch capabilities from other phone manufacturers," he said. "It's both a manufacturer and an operating system issue."

A kill switch needs to be free to customers and secure, Milch added. "We don't want an instance where it's a hackable kill switch issue," he said.

T-Mobile shares Klobuchar's goals to prevent smartphone theft, added Kathleen Ham, the company's vice president for federal regulatory affairs. T-Mobile participates in a global stolen-phone database alert system, and it installs locate, lock and wipe software on all phones, she said.

C Spire supports a kill switch concept as well, but it doesn't have the market power to require manufacturers to install kill switch software on phones, said Eric Graham, senior vice president for strategic relations at Cellular South, C Spire's parent company.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *