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CTIA Announces Voluntary Support for Anti-Theft Mechanisms in Smartphones

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In an effort to avoid mandatory regulation, the US mobile industry has agreed to a voluntary code of practice designed to make smartphones less desirable to thieves.

There are moves to mandate a "kill switch" in smartphones that would render them inoperable. Such legislation has already been approved in South Korea, and is being considered in the USA.

Under the voluntary code, developed by the CTIA, each member of the code would ensure that any smartphone sold after next July would have a baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones.

The tools could include a remote wiping of handset information and a remote phone locking system.

All the main mobile networks and handset manufacturers have signed up to the voluntary code of practice. The question is whether that will be enough to stem pressure for mandatory regulation. If phone thefts decline, it might be enough, otherwise, politicians will take action.

There is also a question as to why it will take more than a year to develop what could be a simple OS upgrade for existing smartphones.

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Tags: ctia  USA