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Google and Microsoft will both add a “kill switch” to upcoming versions of their smartphone operating systems, following the success of Apple implementing the anti-theft protocol in its mobile devices last year.
The two companies’ commitment to incorporate the kill switch into their respective Android and Windows operating systems was announced jointly Thursday by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. Schneiderman and Gascón have been leading the charge to reduce smartphone theft by getting mobile hardware makers to add the kill switch feature to their products through the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S) Initiative.
The point of the kill switch is to render mobile devices useless after they are stolen, thus removing the incentive for criminals to steal them in the first place. When Apple introduced its iOS 7 operating system in September, it included an “activation lock” feature that lets users remotely lock and disable an iPad or iPhone that has been stolen.