Google and Microsoft join Apple introduce kill switches in Smartphone
WASHINGTON: Google and Microsoft plan to join Apple in introducing theft-deterring “kill switches” in their smartphone operating systems, as part of an agreement with mayors and police agencies.
The announcement came in a report by the “Secure Our Smartphones Initiative” led by the New York state attorney general with officials from San Francisco and London.
The coalition of more than 100 elected leaders and law enforcement officials from major cities said the agreement means the three main smartphone platforms would soon add the feature as part of an effort to curb an epidemic of thefts.
The report said Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone would add the feature — enabling a user to deactivate a stolen handset — after Apple included this last year.
Google and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“The commitments of Google and Microsoft are giant steps toward consumer safety and the statistics released today illustrate the stunning effectiveness of kill switches,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
“In just one year, the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative has made tremendous strides towards curtailing the alarming trend of violent smartphone theft. We will continue the fight to ensure that companies put consumers´ safety first and work toward ending the epidemic of smartphone theft. “The report noted that preliminary data following Apple´s adoption of its “activation lock” feature found that in the first five months of 2014, theft of Apple devices fell by 17 percent in New York, while thefts of Samsung products increased by 51 percent from the same period in the previous year.