It's too late to save
"Such a beautiful, young, vibrant woman," said Boken's cousin,
The smartphone industry has been reluctant to embrace universal kill switches, citing security concerns, but it has volunteered to install technology in new phones that would allow consumers to opt in for a kill switch.
That is not enough for some advocates who want kill switches to come as a default feature on all new smartphones so thieves would realize there is no point in stealing them.
"This technology exists,"
"Unfortunately it's been deployed in a way that requires smartphone users to activate it themselves (upon buying the phone). This is problematic because most smartphone users don't know their devices have the technology or how to turn it on. Moreover, thieves can't tell which phones have the technology enabled and which don't, which leaves everyone vulnerable to victimization."
If the kill switch hasn't been enabled and the phone is stolen, it's too late to shut it down.
The switch is software or hardware or some combination of both that allows the owner to shut down a mobile device remotely if it is lost or stolen. It could also remotely wipe the owner's data. It could prevent the phone from being reactivated without the owner's password, but it also could allow data to be restored if the phone is recovered.
Consumer Reports estimates that 3.1 million cellphones were stolen in
Besides monetary value, smartphones store vast amounts of often vital and sensitive personal and professional information.
Many smartphone thefts are crimes of opportunity, such as when a person absentmindedly places the phone on a bar or a table at a restaurant.
They also can be violent or even deadly. A few months before
Stealing smartphones can be lucrative. Thieves can wipe the memories clean and then sell the phones on the black market, which is often overseas.
According to Secure Our Smartphones, iPhones can be worth
Critics say that wireless companies earn billions of dollars a year from people replacing stolen smartphones and from phone-theft insurance revenue. They suggest that is a powerful motive for the industry to drag its feet on kill-switch technology.
The smartphone industry, represented by CTIA
By mandating a single solution, the industry says, government could make the phones vulnerable to a different menace.
"It's important that different technologies are available so that a 'trap door' isn't created that could be exploited by hackers and criminals,"
In addition, the
The industry group supports federal legislation introduced in 2013 that would toughen penalties for smartphone theft. The industry also created a database so that phones reported stolen will not be reactivated by carriers in the U.S.
In the face of continuing pressure, the wireless industry last month announced a "voluntary commitment" that smartphones manufactured after
Signing on were Apple, AT&T,
The Secure Our Smartphones coalition called that an important step but noted it still requires consumers to take action.
Apple already offers an activation lock that starts working as soon as the Find My iPhone feature is turned on in iOS 7. If the phone is stolen the owner can put it into lost mode via iCloud.
A similar reactivation lock is available for some Samsung Galaxy phones.
Identical bills filed in the
In neither case are kill switches explicitly required to be enabled by default when a phone is purchased by the consumer.
Two men are now in prison for murdering Boken, a
"And two 18-year-old kids were driving around looking for a victim," said Weinstein of
How to avoid phone theft
The wireless industry offers these tips:
--Password protect your phone and change it regularly. Go to "settings."
--Write down the model number, serial number and International Mobile Equipment Identifier. Find the IMEI by dialing *#06#. If the phone is stolen, report it immediately to the police and the carrier so it can be placed in a database.
--Enable the Find My iPhone activation lock or the reactivation lock available on some Samsung Galaxy phones.
--Consider theft insurance.
--Be aware of surroundings. Don't walk and text.
--Don't put the phone down in public.
--Don't lend the phone to a stranger.
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