Report: Samsung, LG mulling OS-level kill switch to deter mobile device theft


Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are in talks with South Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning to install an operating system-level kill switch on their upcoming smartphones and tablets, making the devices inoperable if stolen.

The Wall Street Journal reports the kill switch is designed to deter theft by enabling both manufacturers and mobile operators to lock mobile devices even if a SIM card is replaced or the firmware is hacked. Consumers would be required to register their devices for the kill switch to work.

South Korean officials maintain that the kill switch is the most effective solution to reducing phone theft because the function is integrated into the OS or firmware and can't be deleted. "Consumers should remain cautious and take phone safety measures by themselves, noting that it is ultimately their responsibility to protect their phone," said Lee Dong-hyung, chief of the Telecommunications Policy Bureau at the ministry.

Samsung is the world's largest Android device manufacturer, with second-quarter smartphone shipments of 73.3 million units, according to researcher IDC. LG follows with shipments of 12.1 million. Article