Google and Microsoft to introduce 'kill-switch' to make stealing a phone pointless

Nassos Stylianou
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Google and Microsoft will introduce 'kill-switch' features (Source: Getty)

Anti-theft features will be introduced to phones using Google and Microsoft operating systems, as smartphone makers attempt to crack down on device theft.

Essentially, the proposed 'kill-switch' feature should make stealing a handset pointless and follows the lead set by Apple and Samsung in tackling the surge in phone thefts.

According to a report by US Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, an agreement has been reached with the two tech giants as part of the 'Secure our Smartphones' initiative launched in the United States

Based on data in the report, one in three Europeans experienced the theft or loss of a mobile device last year, while more than 3m devices were stolen in the United States, double the amount recorded in 2012.

Due to their nature as high-value, easy-to-sell devices, smartphones have been increasingly targeted. In August 2013 the Metropolitan Police reported that 7,000 mobile phones were stolen in London each month, including 5,000 iPhones.

Since introducing new security features last year as part of its iOS7 release, allowing owners to remove all data and information in the event of their devices getting stolen, Apple has noticed a drop in smartphone-related crime.

In the six-month period since the feature was released, thefts of Apple products in London declined by 24 per cent, according to the latest data.

No date has been set on when Google and Microsoft will introduce these measures, but some analysts have suggested they could be in place by summer 2015.

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