“Bricking” stolen smartphones is the most effective way to dissuade thefts. Well, bricking means to make a device unusable. To this end, Samsung is unveiling a “kill switch” feature in July following discussions with law enforcement officials in New York about addressing the growing smartphone-theft issue.
The new anti-theft feature aims to curb the increasing number of smartphone thefts in the United States. Using the kill switch feature, manufacturers, carriers and the government can remotely lock or disable a smartphone to make it totally unusable. The feature will make a stolen device completely inoperable, so thieves will have no way to prevent deactivation of the device, whether they swap SIM cards or hack software. The device cannot be used under another carrier or with a new prepaid SIM. In other words, a stolen phone will have no value in the market.
The kill switch feature is supposed to be a button that can be activated to brick a device. Details of the feature on upcoming smartphones have yet to be revealed. However, if Samsung is going to unveil the feature in the coming month, there will be a prelude of rumors and reports bringing more info.
Apple’s latest iOS 7 has an “Activation Lock” feature that locks the phone if someone other than the owner attempts to disable its “Find My iPhone” feature or wipe the phone. The iPhone owner can reactivate the phone with a username and password.
Bricking or remote deactivation of smartphones will likely provide an instant and exact method to address the growing smartphone theft issue. It is probably an anticipated feature for active smartphone users, who store valuable data in their devices.
Samsung’s move demonstrates its concern for social responsibility, conveying that the world’s largest smartphone maker is not focusing on profit alone. That said the move will undoubtedly have significant implications for the industry.