Law enforcement hails Android ‘kill switch’

Law enforcement officials in New York and California applauded Google on Wednesday for incorporating a “kill switch” into its new Lollipop Android operating system. 

With the new anti-theft feature, stolen smartphones would become inoperable without entering a pin or password to reset them, according to reports

{mosads}New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón lead the Secure Our Smartphone Initiative, a law enforcement partnership that has advocated for better security features on phones to discourage theft. 

“We applaud Google for including a ‘kill switch’ solution in its new version of Android, one of the most popular smartphone operating systems in the world,” they said in a statement Wednesday. “The majority of smartphone owners now have access to an theft-deterrent solution.”

They also called on other tech companies to take the additional step of automatically activating the security feature on all new phones.

Law enforcement has been pushing for the new security feature, saying it can be a substantial deterrent for cell phone theft in major cities. They cited statistics that found theft of iPhones fell sharply after Apple introduced its own Activation Lock. 

Earlier this year, California became the first state to require devices sold in the state to come preloaded with a kill switch to protect against theft. Legislation at the national level has also been introduced in Congress. 

Many phone companies had previously volunteered to make the security change and have called the laws unnecessary. There have also been fears in the privacy community that the feature could be used by law enforcement to lock the phones during emergencies, even protests. However, law enforcement groups say those concerns are unfounded.

Tags Android Apple Google IPhone Kill switch Mobile operating system
See all Hill.TV See all Video