'Kill Switch' Standard on U.S. Phones in 2015
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft, along with the five biggest cellular carriers in the United States, are among those that have signed on to a voluntary program announced by the industry's largest trade group.
All smartphones manufactured for sale in the United States after July 2015 must have the technology, according to the program from CTIA-The Wireless Association, reports CNN.
"We appreciate the commitment made by these companies to protect wireless users in the event their smartphones are lost or stolen," said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA. "This flexibility provides consumers with access to the best features and apps that fit their unique needs while protecting their smartphones and the valuable information they contain."
HTC, Motorola, Nokia are among the other smartphone makers who have signed up, along with carriers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular, said CNN.
The feature would let a phone's owner erase contacts, photos, e-mail and other information, and lock the phone so it can't be used without a password, CNN said.
The feature, which will be offered at no cost to consumers, also will prevent the phone from being reactivated without an authorized user's consent. The data would be retrievable if the owner recovers the phone, CNN said.