Comments
California Nears Smartphone Kill Switch
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Lorna Garey
50%
50%
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 12:17:24 PM
Driver ...
Argualbly it's only the threat of this legislation in two major markets that drove Apple, Google and Microsoft to make this move, so moot or not, it was worth the effort.

Maybe this will be a selling point for Win 8 devices - "The Windows Phone kill switch will allow owners to: render the smartphone inoperable; remotely wipe personal data from the phone; prevent reactivation without the owner's permission; reverse the inoperability if the phone is recovered; and restore user data if the phone was erased."

That's way more than Apple or Samsung are doing, right?
melgross
50%
50%
melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 1:06:10 PM
Re: Driver ...
In another report, the CTIA has been opposing this legislation.
melgross
50%
50%
melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 1:07:17 PM
Re: Driver ...
Lorna, that's exactly what Find My Phone has been doing for a year, and how iOS has worked for well over that.
Laurianne
50%
50%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 12:34:56 PM
Remote Wipes
The remote wipe option is smart addition. I have used Find my iPhone to recover mine after I left it in a restaurant. Such a service just makes sense. I am still floored by the number of people who don't even password protect their phones. Is the CA effort a moot point? Weigh in please.
GonzSTL
50%
50%
GonzSTL,
User Rank: Strategist
8/12/2014 | 3:01:21 PM
Re: Remote Wipes
I don't believe it to be a moot point; late or not, it is still a worthwhile effort. Aside from its benefit to a personal user, imagine a corporate scenario that requires through policy the need for a kill and/or remote wipe capability in mobile devices. It would be so much easier to enforce if the given device already has that feature built in.
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 4:32:11 PM
Re: Remote Wipes
I think it's a worthwhile effort, so long as it doesn't hinder things like legitimate phone resale and legitimate transfer of ownership. I'd unclear to me however whether remote data wiping will really get rid of data or just overwrite it so that it can be recovered. I can't imagine law enforcement agencies wanting to allow people to really be able to remotely erase their phones such that the data is truly unrecoverable.
Jeffrub1
50%
50%
Jeffrub1,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2014 | 5:50:51 PM
Re: Remote Wipes
Even if unnecessary, the added exposure of these laws will hopefully raise awareness and eventual usage of the capability. As noted earlier, security is not top of mind for many consumers, so keeping the topic in the news can only help. As for corporate interest, this will unfortunately provide little benefit in the world of BYOD, where wiping this way won't be enforceable. This would be especially true when a device is lost (not stolen), and the user is therefore reluctant to take security action to protect sensitive company information.
GonzSTL
50%
50%
GonzSTL,
User Rank: Strategist
8/13/2014 | 11:06:51 AM
Re: Remote Wipes
@Thomas I agree that any such capability must not interfere with legitimate resale or transfer of ownership. Regarding remote wiping, my take is that a government has no right to prevent people from remotely erasing their own personal data on a device they own so that it is unrecoverable. That is personal data, and people have absolute rights to it unless there is a suspicion of criminal activity. The same goes for corporate data on corporate owned devices, subject to records retention regulations. We cannot live in a world where any government agency can impose such restrictions on personal or corporate data without due cause. Arguably, the "due cause" can be abused, but that is beside the point.
Pablo Valerio
50%
50%
Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2014 | 4:54:48 AM
Shame on manufacturers
The way manufacturers and opertors are going about this is really shameful.

They had the technology to implement the kill switch for many years. The only reason is not there yet is basically greed.

The number of stolen smartphones almost doubled last year (3.1m vs 1.6m in 2012), and cost about $2.5 billion to consumers to replace their phones and pay for addtional insurance.

$2.5 billion is a huge business. If the kill switch is implemented and activated by default that additional revenue will go away really fast.

About remote wipes, I believe expert forensic technicians for law enforcement could be able to recover data if necessary. I've only seen a couple of hardware encryption systems that allow for a "real" destruction of all data.
GAProgrammer
50%
50%
GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 3:25:40 PM
Re: Shame on manufacturers
I fail to see your point. Perhaps you can clarify? If I lose my phone/it is stolen and I wipe it, I still have to buy a new phone. None of the complaints about "reselling" phones to people will be prevented by this fact? The kill switch doesn't buy you a new phone when yours is lost or stolen - it only prevents your personal information from being exposed and keeps your phone usage off once you kill it.

Maybe I missed something? Otherwise your post just comes down to "those companies are evil for making money!"
2bafriend
100%
0%
2bafriend,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2014 | 9:39:04 AM
Good Intentions
Like most government actions, good intentions turn into lage failures.  If you can kill your phone, so can they.  If they don't want you to communicate outside what they want you to say, then you won't.  The government has no business in this.  It is your individual responsibility to protect yourself, your family and your property.  If you cannot take personal responsibility, then maybe you should rethink life.

 
ljtaylor
50%
50%
ljtaylor,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2014 | 11:08:00 AM
Remote wipe and disable

It can be a great tool to protect honest users of mobile technology. We have a BYOD at my job and each employee that chooses to use their personal smartphone at work agrees to a security policy that encrypts their phone data and allows remote wipes. It has saved our company a lot of headache when addressing the issue of lost or stolen phones. Maybe, the consumers should be given the option to pay a very small extra fee to the service provider to enable remote wipe and disable. If the consumer opts out, they accept full responsibility for the loss. Secondly, the service providers should be fined if they are found to have a history of activating stolen devices. As for laws requiring remote kill, my concern is how intrusive will this legislation be to my privacy. Lastly, there needs to be countermeasures in case the remote kill functionality is ever compromised by hackers...

Some Guy
50%
50%
Some Guy,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2014 | 12:18:22 PM
This Fire Sale brought to you by ...
Doesn't this just makes it easier for organized crime and state-sponsored cyberwarfare to be successful? Don't have to break into the phone company anymore, just kill everyone's phones at the edge. Let's add 6 billion more ways to start a fire sale and cut off emergency responders. I'm hearing Dr. Phil ...


The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 18, 2014
Enterprise social network success starts and ends with integration. Here's how to finally make collaboration click.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
The weekly wrap-up of the top stories from InformationWeek.com this week.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.