Published in Editorials

Politicians use bad numbers to push Kill Switches on phones... again

by on11 February 2015 3650 times

The wonderful topic of “kill switches” in smart phones has arisen again with three major cities claiming a directly connection between iPhone theft and the addition of a kill switch into Apple devices. Now the news is pushing stories with titles claiming a 50% reduction in “smart phone” theft. These claims are simply not true. The first thing to note is that Apple is not the only company with a smart phone and the second is that there was already a reduction in theft of Apple device prior to the lunch of the iPhone 6. The demand and allure of the iPhone 5 line was not really enough to get a thief’s hear racing.

The numbers used for the kill switch push are misleading in the extreme. They only show one manufacturer and are do not include numbers showing theft of newer iPhone 6 products. However, the people that want these systems in place are well aware of what they are doing and if you look at the locations that are bragging about this they are also places that have abused this type of power in the past. London, San Francisco and New York.

Still the push remains and as usual the politicians that want this level of control are using privacy and security as their shield. These are the same guys that will later claim you have no right to privacy or security when the cozy up to the MPAA, RIAA or NSA. They are more than willing to sell you out then. However, they want you to think that by putting in technology that turns your expensive device into a paperweight at a simple command they are acting in our best interest. In plain English, they are not.

Remote kill switches for devices are nothing more than a potential means for control. They are very often not used for their intended purposes (theft/ loss prevention) and end up being abused by the “guys in charge” when it suits them.

Now I am not opposed to technology that actually works in loss prevention such as customer driven location and wiping. In 2014 the implementation of free services that allow a consumer to track and wipe their device remotely when lost or stolen made a large difference in the theft of devices in the same way as on-demand tracking did in vehicles. Having had a smart phone stolen I was much happier knowing that I was able to track it and wipe anything off of it than the thought that my service provide could kill it. I did this through both the Google Play Store and the Free LookOut Mobile security. I was in charge and not the carrier in this case and most consumers would agree that this is not something they want in the hands of their carrier especially in the post Snowden days.

The facts are not going to sway the politicians that want this though and they will continue to manipulate the numbers to suit their agenda. Sadly this is one “service” that really does not need to be in our devices any more than Apple’s always on tracking history.

What do you think?

Last modified on 11 February 2015
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