The movement to add kill switches to upcoming versions of smartphone operating systems is getting a boost after Google and Microsoft both said they would be incorporating the idea into security measures in an effort to deter potential thieves from stealing phones.
It comes on the heels of a number of state government's pushing companies to add the "kill switch" feature to reduce the increasing number of smartphone thefts across the country.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, more than one-third of all robberies in major American cities involve smartphones. And, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, since Apple released a "kill switch" last September, the number of iPhone robberies has "plummeted."
A new report from Secure Our Smartphones Initiative said in a published report that Apple products have seen a drop in theft in New York by some 20 percent during the first few months of this year when compared with figures from the same period last year.
"The statistics released today illustrate the stunning effectiveness of kill switches and the commitments of Google and Microsoft are giant steps toward consumer safety," Schneiderman said in a statement.
California is also hoping that its legislative efforts, which saw the passing of a bill requiring mobile companies to implement a kill switch to help reduce crime in the state, will be a boost to customer safety and confidence in smartphones.
The bill still requires Gov. Jerry Brown's approval and signature to become law, but it recently passed the state's Assembly and now awaits either a signature or a veto to become law.
"We're one step closer to ending the violence and victimization that far too many people have been subjected to. California truly has an opportunity to lead the way and end this public safety crisis; the potential to end this global epidemic is very real," the state's Attorney General George Gascon said in a statement from his office earlier this year.
The Wireless Lobby led by the CTIA has also admonished the move, saying there already exists a number of anti-theft features that phones have and that adding another one required by law would increase production cost. They warned this would result in more expensive devices for the customer.
With states attempting to push forward on getting kill switches on phones, and with Google and Microsoft getting on board, it should only be a matter of time before the kill switch movement sees overall success across the country.