A smartphone kill switch could save consumers billions

While gluing it to your hand may be one surefire way to prevent your mobile phone being stolen, surely the most effective anti-theft strategy would be to make the device as unattractive as possible to potential thieves. By this we don’t mean putting a picture of Donald Trump on your home screen or smearing it in a foul-smelling substance. We’re talking about the kill switch – technology that allows a stolen phone to be rendered useless from a remote location by the phone’s owner or carrier.

Consumers could save an estimated $2.5 billion each year if proposed “kill switch” technology significantly reduced smartphone thefts nationwide, according to a new study. The analysis by William Duckworth, a statistics professor at Creighton University, estimates that consumers spend about $500 million each year replacing stolen phones and around $2 billion each year buying premium cell phone insurance through wireless carriers. Introducing a kill switch feature that allowed victims to disable their stolen devices could virtually eliminate phone thefts because criminals would no longer have an incentive to steal them, law enforcement officials say.

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