Smartphone thefts in the U.S. are increasing at an alarming rate, as device manufacturers gear up to put their full support behind the kill-switch initiative that is expected to take shape in 2015.
Thieves are not backing down, as selling stolen smartphone is big business. Usually, these devices are sold on eBay to international buyers not too long after being stolen. Because of this, it is almost impossible to recover a stolen device, hence one of the reasons for the kill-switch.
According to a survey, more than 3.1 million Americans had their smartphones stolen last year. That is more than double the 1.6 million-estimate set by Consumer Reports, which should put into perspective how dangerous this is, and why the whole world should support the kill-switch in all mobile devices.
"Given how much personal information smart phones can contain -- from photos, contacts, email accounts to social-networks, shopping, and banking apps -- losing one of these devices or having one stolen can definitely be cause for panic," said Glenn Derene, electronics editor at Consumer Reports. "Our survey revealed that the number of lost and stolen smart phones is on the rise, and too many smart-phone users are needlessly imperiling their personal data by not taking basic security measures."
However, there is already a way to prevent thieves from using stolen smartphones in the United States. If your device is stolen, you can simply contact your carrier and they will add it to the national database, this means it can never be activated again. However, as soon as this device goes overseas, everything is void, and it can be used again. The kill-switch plan stops any handset from working anywhere in the world, so thieves will no longer benefit.
While the kill-switch plan is great news, we fear that someone might eventually find a work-around that would defeat the purpose of the kill-switch. And for those who live outside the United States, let's hope our respective countries and carriers stand together behind the kill-switch plan to help put a stop to smartphone theft everywhere possible.