‘Kill Switch’ May be Standard on U.S. Phones in 2015

‘Kill Switch’ May be Standard on U.S. Phones in 2015

In this Sept. 20, 2013 file photo, a customer configures the fingerprint scanner technology built into iPhone 5S at an Apple store in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
In this Sept. 20, 2013 file photo, a customer configures the fingerprint scanner technology built into iPhone 5S at an Apple store in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

(CNN) — The “kill switch,” a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015, according to a pledge backed by most of the mobile world’s major players.

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 Tuesday 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.

Advocates say the feature would deter thieves from taking mobile devices by rendering phones useless while allowing people to protect personal information if their phone is lost or stolen. Its proponents include law enforcement officials concerned about the rising problem of smartphone theft.

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