Both Microsoft and Google have agreed to add a kill switch their mobile operating systems. Following an agreement with the New York Attorney General, the next versions of Windows Phone and Android will include a feature that will render handsets useless if they are stolen. The attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, published a report yesterday outlining the important of such a feature, and revealed that two of the biggest names in technology are on-board.
But while a kill switch can act as a serious theft deterrent -- "An activated kill switch converts an easy-to-sell, high-value multimedia device into a jumble of plastic and glass, drastically reducing its street value", says the report -- there are also security concerns. There is potential for the mechanism to be hijacked so the kill switch could be activated by a hacker or malicious user. It is likely that it will also be possible to block the kill switch signal -- perhaps by activating airplane mode until a workaround can be implemented.
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Here's a couple articles where George Anderson is quoted: