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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Colorado
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Wireless Carriers May Be Avoiding Technology to Disable Stolen Smartphones to P

11/21/2013 12:35 PM

Privately the wireless carriers are saying that this will cost them money. Publicly they are saying they don't want to do it due to security issues, or because of the threat of a mass cyber attack.

http://unbonmotgroundswell.blogspot.com/2013/11/wireless-carriers-may-be-avoiding.html

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Pathfinder Tags: kill switch smartphone theft
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#1

Re: Wireless Carriers May Be Avoiding Technology to Disable Stolen Smartphones to P

11/21/2013 2:04 PM

It really comes down to a cost/benefit analysis

- How much would it cost (which needs to then be passed on to the phone buyer).

- How much would it save the buyer (by potentially reducing the risk of theft).

- How easy would it be to bypass (rendering the security worthless to any serious thief)

- How secure would the kill switch actually be (do you really want your Ex girlfriend killing your phone for example).

- What if you lost your phone, killed it then found it later? Isn't a temporarily lost cellphone more likely to occur than a stolen one?

- Legal issues if the kill switch is activated over the wireless carrier's network (accident, hack, disgruntled employee, etc).

etc, etc.

If biometrics can be bypassed as easily and quickly as they have been then could we just be opening up a bigger can of worms adding a kill switch?

Something to think about from both sides of the debate.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Wireless Carriers May Be Avoiding Technology to Disable Stolen Smartphones to P

11/21/2013 2:30 PM

No doubt there are a lot of issues to work through - but it's likely worth trying instead of throwing up your hands and saying 'it's too complicated'. If it becomes a liability, then design in a 'kill switch' for the 'kill switch'; which only seems apropo.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Wireless Carriers May Be Avoiding Technology to Disable Stolen Smartphones to P

11/21/2013 7:14 PM

If it becomes a liability, then design in a 'kill switch' for the 'kill switch'; which only seems apropo.

Why am I reminded of the story of the woman who swallowed the fly.

What the hell, I wasn't planning on implementing or selling the idea anyway.......why not just write an app that performs the function of a kill switch, perhaps a watchdog timer with a password that if incorrectly or not entered in time erases the data or OS on the cellphone. Won't exactly eliminate the theft problem but will make it more difficult for thieves, cost a fraction of the price AND be totally the choice of the cellphone owner (a bit like a car alarm).

Jack - An industrial and commercial product designer.

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#4

Re: Wireless Carriers May Be Avoiding Technology to Disable Stolen Smartphones to P

11/22/2013 11:09 AM

In reality this is no different than the dilemma(?) faced by the automobile industry. The more secure they make their cars against theft, the more it cuts into their revenue from replacing stolen vehicles. It was the insurance industry that strong-armed the auto companies to make them more theft proof, maybe the same thing will happen with cell phones.

In the early days of portables if you called and said your phone was stolen they deleted the EIN from their databases rendering the phone inoperable, and if you had insurance and a police report a new one was in your hands in a few days. I never thought that the carriers benefited, just the manufacturers who were reimbursed by the insurance companies. I wonder what changed.

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