We’ve all been hearing news of Samsung and several other device makers wanting to release phones with kill switches in recent months. What motivated that? Theft. Phone theft. If you thought smartphone theft was only prevalent in your city or town (hello Nairobians) then think again. It is equally prevalent in big cities like New York too. Such a big menace that consumer groups and law enforcers even came together at some point to start a “Save our Smartphones” initiative. To complement such efforts and address the pain that smartphone owners go through, various American carriers have each created their own database so that they can blacklist phones reported as stolen.
However that database that carriers in the States have is of little importance without partnerships with carriers in other countries. We know so well that in the black market you can get the best smartphone at some rather low prices. Those are likely to be phones that were stolen abroad and found their way here. There’s a loophole and it will be sealed when network providers partner with CTIA and their US counterparts to block such phones from ever operating on their networks since it will be a while before the idea of kill switches wins our hearts and minds.
If you’ve been a victim of smartphone theft then you know how nice this sounds, right? Let’s hope your carrier is working on something similar.