Apple, Google, and Microsoft want to eliminate phone theft

To combat phone theft, several lawmakers over the last year have put pressure on manufacturers and wireless carriers to include smarter antitheft technology on smartphones. A group of tech and phone companies on Tuesday said they were on board with the idea. CTIA, the industry trade group that represents the carriers, said over a dozen companies, including Apple, AT&T, Google, Samsung Electronics and Verizon Wireless, had committed to offering free antitheft software for cellphones at the beginning of next year.

Some of the biggest companies in the mobile industry have signed a pledge to include new anti-theft technology in phones starting July 2015. The Wireless Association (CTIA) announced the signing of the “Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” on Tuesday. Among the signees are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular.  The signees agree that new models of smartphones, manufactured after July 2015 and sold in the U.S. will have a pre-loaded or downloadable anti-theft tool. The tool will enable the user to remotely wipe data from the phone and render it inoperable in case the phone is stolen or lost. Furthermore, the tool will prevent reactivation without user’s permission (including factory reset attempts), but it will allow the authorized user to reverse the inoperability and restore data in case the phone is recovered.

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