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Android and Windows Phone set to get anti-theft kill switch

News by Andrew Kameka on Friday June 20, 2014.

software news · andrew kameka

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Android smartphones that are lost or stolen will be able to remotely wipe and permanently lock a smartphone from being used in the next version of the software, and a similar feature is reportedly coming to Windows Phone handsets. Bloomberg News quotes a Google spokesperson as saying that a "Factory reset protection solution" is coming to Android that would be a way to deter theft by making stolen phones unusable. The exact mechanisms have yet to be revealed, but the system will be designed to let a user login to a phone and prevent it from being used even if factory reset. Google already has protections in place to remotely track or wipe a phone to protect user data, but this method would render the phone unusable.

Microsoft also chimed in with a statement that it too will deliver an update to Windows Phone meant to deter theft. VP of Government Affairs wrote that Windows Phone would be able to remotely erase personal data, make a phone inoperable, prevent reactivation, and reverse inoperability if the phone is recovered. The move is part of Microsoft's participation in the government's goal to install kill switches in all smartphones sold in the US. Law enforcement officers blame phone theft for a large portion of robberies - as high as 30 percent in some markets - and credit the Apple iPhone Activation Lock feature as being a key reason that burglaries are down in New York, San Francisco, and London. Android, and to a lesser extent Windows Phone, adding this feature should theoretically lead to further drops in phone theft.

source: Bloomberg

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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