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Digital Life

Smartphone makers, carriers embrace anti-theft initiative

Published on Apr 16, 2014 6:36 AM

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Major US wireless carriers and smartphone makers have agreed to introduce tools to enable users to lock their devices and wipe them clean of data if stolen, responding to pressure on the telecommunications industry to do more to stem theft.

Starting in July 2015, all smartphones manufactured by the companies will come with free anti-theft tools preloaded on the devices or ready to be downloaded, according to wireless association CTIA, which announced the agreement on Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon welcomed the voluntary agreement but said it fell short of what they have advocated to prevent theft.

The prosecutors have urged manufacturers and carriers to carry the tools as a default in their devices, rather than having users download them. "While CTIA's decision to respond to our call for action by announcing a new voluntary commitment to make theft-deterrent features available on smartphones is a welcome step forward, it falls short of what is needed to effectively end the epidemic of smartphone theft," the prosecutors said in a joint statement.

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