US law enforcement wants smartphone “kill switch”
New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has announced the formation of a coalition of law enforcement agencies which are looking for the implementation of a smartphone “kill switch.”
The idea, backed by a new group of police, prosecutors, and politicians called Secure Our Smartphones, would help address the problem of mobile theft, they claim.
The idea is that smartphones will include the ability to completely disable the device remotely, which would render it useless to thieves and thus reduce the rate of crime in this area. Schneiderman called on mobile firms to not charge extra for the feature.
“Apple and Samsung have taken steps in the right direction, but it is clear to us that the industry as a whole has more work to do to protect consumers from violent street crimes,” said Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon in a statement.
Apple already confirmed at its Worldwide Developers Conference that this feature will be part of iOS 7.
The authorities say that mobile thefts account for 40 per cent of robberies in New York City. They highlighted the case of Megan Boken, 23, who was killed last year when someone tried to still her iPhone.
However, free speech advocates may consider the feature liable to abuse, given that it could similarly be used to censor citizens.