NY Attorney Gen.: Android and Windows phones to come with kill switch

By Ananth Baliga  |  June 19, 2014 at 2:51 PM
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NEW YORK, June 19 (UPI) -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Windows and Android phones will come with a kill switch to help reduce the number of phone thefts.

Schneiderman, who started a law enforcement initiative aimed at addressing theft, said that having such security measures would deter mobile theft, as once phones are killed they cannot be sold again. Mobile phone companies have faced intense pressure from public officials to install kill switches as a security measure.

More than 30 percent of robberies in major cities are mobile phone-related and many cities have seen a major drop in thefts after Apple installed such measures in its phones last year, according to Schneiderman.

"The statistics released today illustrate the stunning effectiveness of kill switches and the commitments of Google and Microsoft are giant steps toward consumer safety," Schneiderman said in a statement.

A report released by the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, Scheiderman's group, said that thefts involving Apple phones dropped 19 percent in New York for the first five months of 2014 and dropped 38 percent and 24 percent in San Francisco and London, respectively.

"Criminals now target devices not likely to be equipped with a kill switch, increasing the importance of immediately implementing the life-saving technology across all manufacturers," said Schneiderman.

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