Samsung might launch its anti-theft feature for smartphones as soon as July

by: David GonzalesJune 15, 2013

Samsung logo aa (2) - 600px
Samsung, along with other tech industry giants, met with New York Attorney General Erich Schneiderman recently to discuss the implementation of the smartphone kill switch that we’ve talked about before in order to reduce the number of device thefts that keep occurring in the U.S. Now, it looks like the Korea-based electronics company has finally agreed to work on it and not only that, but actually release it to users soon, as new reports indicate that it could happen as early as next month.

In what could be a bid to show that it’s not just motivated by profit and actually takes care of social responsibility, Samsung is said to be working on delivering a kill switch feature for smartphones as soon as July. It is currently the world’s top smartphone maker in terms of sales, so it’s in a position to really effect a change in the industry, especially in areas that really need attention.

Once active, the kill switch feature will enable manufacturers, carriers, and possibly even the U.S. government to remotely lock, wipe, and disable any smartphone so that it can no longer be used anywhere in the world. Not under a new carrier, not with a new prepaid SIM card, nothing. Essentially, it’s a button that would allow the ones in charge to “brick” any compatible device, no questions asked.

The details of Samsung’s upcoming kill switch feature for smartphones have so far not been made public yet, but if the Korean company really does intend to issue it to users next month, then we’re likely to find out more about it in the coming weeks.

How useful do you think this type of feature will be? Would you feel safer knowing that such a feature exists? Tell us in the comments.

  • Alison Rain

    What am I supposed to do when I find my bricked device

    • Mike

      Why, buy a new one, of course.

  • PlayDoh_Ninja

    I for one will root and disable it if they add it. If I wanted the phone company to have control over my device I would go to Apple.

    • ARES

      Then why would you go here and brag about apple ?

    • S. Ali

      Nah, you just let Google have that control instead. Friggin idiot.

    • Mikesphoneandtab

      I think this is for a safety measure. I’m sure there is a certain process they would have to go through before they brick your phone. I’d feel a lot safer if I knew my phone couldn’t be stolen and all of my pass codes and confidential information couldn’t be taken.

    • On a Clear Day

      The idea is one of deterrence, rather like how crime went down in Florida when it became easier to get a carry permit for a hidden gun. Suddenly the thought of breaking in on older people became less appealing to those who previously felt they were at an advantage with those who were weaker than they.

      Well, if it is only going to activated by you or I saying telling the phone company to nuke it, and already your carrier if they want can cut off our service at will, should they wish, which means they already have control of your phone what’s the big deal.

      World will get around to the lowlifes stealing that it is no longer worthwhile. What we really need is a blow up switch – not a high powered explosive just something that will perhaps cause minor injury! LOL

      I should patent that idea before someone steals it.

  • Vishal Khedkar

    There are much better alternatives! Why kill the device? And make it dead and of no benefit to even the actual owner? Just lock it, and get the location, exact pin-point location of the device, catch the thief and get back your phone! Can’t it be as simple as this?

    • Leif Sikorski

      If it doesn’t get bricked they still have a way to flash a new firmware and sell it. We’ve apps like cerberus, and others for years and it showed that they’re no problem for thefts who know what they do. An option to make a device really unusable might be the most effective option.

      • Vishal Khedkar

        Oh yeah! I didn’t think about this! They are right and you too… :)

  • Mike

    Why would I want carrier or government have control over my phone? They’ll probably only want it to kill secondary market.

  • Mark King

    A somewhat decent idea, it’s all up to the implementation. I like apple’s answer to the theft issue, something similar on android devices would be well received. if only by me.

  • terminator

    This is a double edged sword. If the phone is stolen and irrecoverable, yeah, it would be good.
    But With the alarming rate of hacking, imaging hackers getting into the system and bricking every one’s device? Or going to buy a used phone and the previous owner is a malicious brat and bricks the phone for no reason. Or like someone here mentioned, you find your bricked phone.
    Maybe I’m over thinking it, but while it’s a good thing, I do hope they figure out ways around these problems. And no government control, please!

    • On a Clear Day

      If we on this blog are already thinking about these types of reasonable concerns I’m sure steps will be implemented by Samsung or whichever manufacturer is paying someone a living to figure it out.

      Already with a lot of the virus programs any of us can text our phones and erase the data; make them scream; lock them up etc. This just makes it something the average person doesn’t have to figure out and waste time doing individually – and because it will hopefully be a world wide thing essentially the theory goes eliminate any and all incentive for phone theft.

  • Dave Carr

    “Once active, the kill switch feature will enable manufacturers, carriers, and possibly even the U.S. government to remotely lock, wipe, and disable any smartphone so that it can no longer be used”

    US Government, could you trust them in the light of all the NSA spying on US citizens & if you was considered an alleged threat to the state will it give them the right to kill your cellphone?

    • APai

      absolutely. in the light of NSA spying on us. whatever way they would like to spin it as – US companies have pretty lost a crucial trust factor, thanks to its overzealous gubment.

      methinks the world, especially europe and some asian countries will move away from USA in the coming years

  • APai

    “..and possibly even the U.S. government to remotely lock, wipe, and disable”
    No thanks! Don’t trust Uncle Scam anymore.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Why break the whole phone. They are expensive! The trick is to get them back. I say the user should have control, and rather the phone go into a mode where the thief doesn’t know it but everything he does help you track the phone.

    • Leif Sikorski

      And who gets it back? The police won’t do it, and people would do it either if someone sells it in another country hundreds of miles away. And what if the thiefs flash a new factory firmware like they do these days because of apps like cerberus or lookout?
      Bricking might be the only way to make stealing phones useless, at least as long as we’ve the freedom to unlock and flash our phones. And who knows, maybe the manufacturer offer a way to fix it for a small fee if you can identify yourself as the real owner.

      There’s still so much unclear in this article so we’ve to wait for more details. I would like to see such a service, especially since most of the robbery is happening these days because of smartphones – at least in the country where I live.

  • mike 3283

    The whole point of the bricking the phone is for the owner of the phone. Whether it be you, the government for their phone, or a company’s phones. That way if someone steals said persons phone the owners of it would be able to make it worthless to them. Of course that it most likely a last resort. But if it is a company that has very important files or whatever on the phone and they don’t want it getting in the hands of say the competition or if it’s the government then maybe to protect some other country from getting crucial information then it would be great for them to brick the phone. They aren’t talking about giving people control over your phone. It’s about the owner of the phone. They would be the person bricking the phone. I think it’s a great idea. The everyday phone user would pretty much have no need to ever brick a phone