Apple and Samsung are among the major smartphone makers to take the CTIA pledge to provide antitheft so-called “kill switches” – tools and mechanisms to allow an owner to disable, lock, and even delete the data off their devices, should their phone or other smart device be stolen or lost.
The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association – originally the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) pledge is that by next summer, July 2015, any smartphone from one of these companies will either come with anti-theft tools onboard, or will have optional free antitheft apps.
Google and HTC have also agreed to providing antitheft mechanisms, as have Verizon AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Explained Steve Largent, CEO of the CTIA, “We appreciate the commitment made by these companies to protect wireless users in the event their smartphones are lost or stolen. This flexibility provides consumers with access to the best features and apps that fit their unique needs while protecting their smartphones and the valuable information they contain.”
“At the same time, it’s important different technologies are available so that a ‘trap door’ isn’t created that could be exploited by hackers and criminals,” Largent added.
Those companies who have signed on to the CTIA Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment have agreed as follows:
CTIA Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment
Each device manufacturer and operating system signatory of Part I of this “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” agrees that new models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2015 for retail sale in the United States will offer, at no cost to consumers, a baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones that provides the connected capability to:
Remote wipe the authorized user’s data (i.e., erase personal info that is added after purchase such as contacts, photos, emails, etc.) that is on the smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.
Render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user (e.g., locking the smartphone so it cannot be used without a password or PIN), except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user (e.g., “phone home”).
Prevent reactivation without authorized user’s permission (including unauthorized factory reset attempts) to the extent technologically feasible (e.g., locking the smartphone as in 2 above).
Reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible (e.g., restored from the cloud).
In addition to this baseline anti-theft tool, consumers may use other technological solutions, if available for their smartphones.
Each network operator signatory of Part II to the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” commits to permit the availability and full usability of a baseline anti-theft tool to be preloaded or downloadable on smartphones as specified in this commitment.
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