Anti-theft tool on smartphones planned

A trade group for wireless providers says the country’s biggest smartphone makers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the devices to try to deter rampant theft.

CTIA-The Wireless Association announced Tuesday that under a “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment,” the providers agree to install a free preloaded or downloadable anti-theft tool on smartphones sold in the U.S. after July 2015.

The wireless industry has said putting a permanent “kill switch” on phones has serious risks, including potential vulnerability to hackers.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have demanded that the wireless industry create kill switches. They say CTIA’s plan still falls short of effectively ending smartphone theft because the measures will rely on consumers to seek out and turn on the technology.

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Anti-theft tool on smartphones planned