Google and Microsoft have agreed to include a ‘kill switch’ in the next versions of Android and Windows, which will prevent thieves from reactivating a stolen smartphone. Apple’s iOS already incorporates a similar feature.
The news follows a year-long campaign in the United States by the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, which is led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.
According to the group, crime statistics from New York, San Francisco and London show that robberies and thefts involving iPhones fell after Apple added a kill switch, while crimes against people carrying other types of phone increased.
Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said “In the year since London joined with our friends and colleagues in the US in the Secure Our Smartphones coalition we’ve made significant progress in reducing the number of smartphone thefts, which have been a shared problem across our cities. By making the phone manufacturers face up to the responsibility they have to their customers, technology that previously attracted thieves is now being used to deter them. The SOS has shown that the only solutions to these global problems are ones developed globally and Londoners and I look forward to further progress as we enter our second year.”