Makers to install kill switch on smart phones

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Smart phones sold in the U.S. after July 2015 will have a kill switch.

The feature allows owners to remotely delete data and disable it if it's lost or stolen.

"The idea is that by doing that thieves won't want to steal phones because they won't have any resale value," says CNET's Lindsey Turrentine.

Wireless makers and carriers agreed to the voluntary anti-theft measures. Phone thefts now account for one in three robberies in the United States.

Apple and Samsung already have lock and tracking features installed on their phones.

But law enforcement officials say the measures don't go far enough.

Turrentine says, "It's important to note that these options are relatively passive. The software will be there for you to either download or for you to turn on. But, they won't be on automatically."

"The issue with any type of security or kill switch is what if a hacker gets into your phone and turns it off for you. Or, if the hacker is able to piggy back off the technology and steal the data in your phone," says security consultant David Oderberg.

Lauren Rushings smart phone was stolen. She lost valuable information, contacts and photos. Her device didn't have anti-theft tools. She says the new measures would bring her peace of mind.

"I would really like that. It would have made that experience for me a lot less stressful," she says.

In a statement, Apple and Samsung say they are committed to their users' safety and are continuously working with carriers to keep smart phones secure.


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