Apple has joined other smartphone makers, including Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung, in announcing a voluntary agreement to include anti-theft technology in all smartphones beginning next year.
The pledge has device makers agreeing that all devices going on sale after July of 2015 will have capabilities to remotely wipe data and to prevent the device from being reactivated without the owner’s permission.
While a number of lawmakers praised the agreement, California state Senator Mark Leno criticized it as inadequate. Leno has proposed a mandatory kill-switch law.
“The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft,” Leno said in a statement. “Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”
The senator says all smartphones must have similar kill switch features, or thefts will continue to occur.
A federal bill, introduced earlier this year, would require a smartphone “kill switch” feature for smartphones.
Apple’s Activation Lock feature already seems to satisfy the requirements of the agreement. The feature, introduced in iOS 7, allows disabling of a stolen device by preventing it from being wiped and reactivated without an Apple ID and password. Apple’s “Find My iPhone” feature allows remote wiping and locking of devices.