Feedback
Tech

Google, Microsoft Adding ‘Kill Switch’ to New Smartphones

Microsoft and Google have agreed to add a "kill switch" to the next versions of their operating systems for smartphones, following efforts by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon to publicize the increasingly prevalent crime of smartphone theft.

Smarter Smartphones: What Is a Kill Switch? 0:42

A "kill switch" enables a phone's owner to completely disable the device remotely in case it is stolen or lost. Apple's iOS 7 includes the feature, calling it "Activation Lock," though hackers have shown it can be circumvented. Thefts of iPhones reportedly dropped significantly after the iOS kill switch was announced, though, so a similar effect may reasonably be expected for other platforms. Google is expected to show the next version of Android at its I/O event next week.

Sign up for top Technology news delivered direct to your inbox

Would kill switch help fight crime? 1:43

In-Depth

Push is on to get ‘kill switch’ into smartphones

Mandatory Smartphone 'Kill Switch' Becomes Law in Minnesota

EFF Opposes California's Cell Phone "Kill Switch" Bill

Social

— Devin Coldewey, NBC News