April 1, 2014
Smartphone ‘kill switches’ could save consumers $2.6 billion annually, according to a newly released report.
Kill switches, a tool added to Smartphones to leave them ineffective and valueless once stolen, are still not the norm, but, according to research from Creighton University professor Dr. William Duckworth — a statistics, data science, and analytics expert — they probably should be.
Duckworth surveyed 1,200 Smartphone owners, and found consumers not only support the kill switch, but expect such safeguards to be pre-installed on their devices.
Americans spend roughly $580 million annually replacing stolen phones and shell out $4.8 billion paying for premium device insurance.
“If the kill switch significantly reduced cellphone theft, consumers could save about $580 million a year from not needing to replace stolen phones and another $2 billion a year by switching from premium cellphone insurance (offered by the wireless carriers) to more basic coverage offered by third parties such as Apple and SquareTrade,” Duckworth said in his report.
“My research suggests that at least half of smartphone owners would in fact reduce their insurance coverage if the Kill Switch reduced the prevalence of cell phone theft. Overall, it seems clear that Americans want the Kill Switch and that an industry-wide implementation of the technology could significantly improve public safety and save consumers billions of dollars a year.”
The Secure Our Smartphones (SOS) initiative — a collective of more than 55 state attorneys general, district attorneys, major city police chiefs, state and city comptrollers, public safety activists and consumer advocates from across America — has been pushing for a kill switch to be mandatory in all cellphones.
While the group has the support of major Smartphone makers like Samsung and Apple, wireless carriers have been reluctant to support the initiative. The CTIA — the trade group that represents the international wireless telecommunications industry — maintains the addition of a kill switch comes with too many problems.
The CTIA has said the creation of a national “blacklist” of stolen devices is all that is needed to curb thefts.
The SOS has vehemently stated its opposition to relying solely on a blacklist, however, citing stats that show, every minute, roughly 113 Smartphones are lost or stolen, and sometimes, those crimes turn violent.
It also cites Consumer Polls stats which indicate between 30 and 40 percent of all robberies are linked to Smartphones, affecting 1.6 million Americans and costing consumers about $30 billion in 2012.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.