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California Smartphone Kill-Switch Law: What It Means
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mstechie
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mstechie,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/29/2014 | 10:59:19 AM
Secure Profiles
This is more of a question rather than a statement. I am concerned about where the kill switch data or profile is stored at. Is there going to be some central repository or is it based on carriers? I am asking this because apparently there will be some type of Web interface. Will the profile data all be stored on the phone? How secure is this process? Is there a risk of the repository of 'kill switch profiles' being hacked then a mass number if phones could be killed at once. How is this different from Find My Phone or LookOut? Ok, this is more like a short list if questions.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
8/29/2014 | 12:20:51 PM
How do you kill it?
Where and how do you actually activate a kill switch? Via a website?
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/29/2014 | 12:32:47 PM
Re: How do you kill it?
>Where and how do you actually activate a kill switch? Via a website?

That's the way Apple does it, via iCloud's Find My iPhone. But the law doesn't spell that out so Google, for example, could implement it in a variety of ways. A website makes sense but it could be set up to trigger via a specific text message code, a specific phone number, or some other criteria -- the software listening for the kill message could in theory listen for any distinct event.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
8/29/2014 | 12:42:30 PM
Re: How do you kill it?
Thanks Tom. But if your smartphone is gone, a text message code won't do you much good. A phone number you could call to activate the kill would work. But it seems a website covers the bases best. Whatever the medium, it should be quick and easy for an owner to pull the trigger.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 4:52:13 PM
Re: How do you kill it?
Here's my 2 cents,

In many third world countries, people have been badly hurt (even killed) for a phone, so the having a way to completely disable a phone it's a really good meassure

 

But like @Shane mentiones, some people might not have access to a computer in a street, but might be able to make a call from a restaurant or other location, so if the kill switch can be activated by calling a number and entering a PIN, it would allow for greater efficiency.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 5:07:20 PM
to really deter them
If you want to prevent cell phone theft this is a decent way to protect the info on the phone, but shouldn't it be coupled with an alarm type of GPS device so when it's activated you can find out where theif took it, preferrably with a loud blaring noise emitting from the phone to declare this phone was stolen? Do that and it makes stealing a phone a liability not just less desirable.
gvandunk
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gvandunk,
User Rank: Strategist
8/30/2014 | 9:44:26 AM
Re: How do you kill it?
The current iPhone kill switch works.  However most of the people who steal these devices know about it so the first thing they do is turn the phone off so it can not be traced.  This was my personal experience.  I went to iCloud within minutes and it could not find my phone.  The authorities are correct in that it has decreased theft some since the phones can not currently be resold and reactivated which was what made them valuable before.  They are however sold for parts much like the bulk of stolen cars.  There is a large secondary market for screens, batteries etc to fix broken phones. Repairing phones is a good business and if you can get quality used parts your margins increase. I am sure a good portion of the "street" vendors that do repairs use the parts. Unfortuneately people create the demand as they are the ones looking for a cheaper alternative to going to the manufacturer for repair.
Henrisha
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Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
8/30/2014 | 1:46:15 PM
Re: to really deter them
I agree with you. There has to be something more than a kill switch, although I won't disagree since I think it's a useful option to have as well. But something that's a bigger deterrent, that's what I would like to see too.
Henrisha
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Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
8/30/2014 | 1:47:34 PM
Re: How do you kill it?
More options on activating the kill switch seem to be in order. They can be rolled out one after the other, perhaps in some countries where some options might not be as practical (ie. adding the phone option.)

Living in a third world country where people have been beaten up or worse, stabbed for their phones--it's high time for some deterrents that they can't get past, rendering stolen phones pretty much useless.
tkeller852
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tkeller852,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/30/2014 | 7:49:24 PM
Kikll switch pretty low value.
None of this will do any practical good until authorities are willing to act on such thefts.  Mine was stolen, I activated the child tracking feature and reported the exact trailer house in the exact trailer park in west Phoenix where the phone was located and provided the Google earth image of it.  They told me to use my phone insurance.
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