Cases of Smartphone Theft Reduced by Kill Switch Feature

April 20, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. remotely / rɪˈmoʊtli / (adv.) – in a distant manner
Example: You may remotely lock the car. 

2. inoperable / ɪnˈɒp ər ə bəl, -ˈɒp rə bəl / (adj.) – cannot be used
Example: I had my phone checked because it became inoperable.

3. incorporate / ɪnˈkɔr pəˌreɪt / (v.) – to include as a part of something
Example: The company will incorporate a new pre-installed app in its smartphones.

4. legislate /ˈlɛdʒ ɪsˌleɪt/ (v.) – to enact or create a law
Example: The government is ready to legislate its new bill.

5. snatch / snætʃ / (v.) – to forcefully take or get something from another person
Example: A man snatched my smartphone.


Read the text below.
Adding the kill switch feature to smartphones has helped reduce the number of theft cases in San Francisco, New York, and London. 

Apple Inc. first introduced the kill switch feature in its products in 2013. The kill switch is a program that remotely disables a smartphone when it gets stolen. The program locks the device and deletes any personal information stored on it. The smartphone thus becomes inoperable, thereby reducing its market value.

Other companies that also feature kill switch in their smartphones include Google, Samsung, and Microsoft.
According to an official announcement, incorporating the kill switch has led to a 40% decrease in the number of stolen iPhones in San Francisco. New York also saw a 25% decline in the number of stolen iPhones. Smartphone theft in London also fell by 50%.

In order to further prevent smartphone theft, the government of California has legislated a bill that requires all smartphones to have a kill switch as part of the default setting by July 2015. Other US states such as Minnesota and New York have also passed similar anti-theft laws of their own. 

A survey in 2014 found that phone theft usually happens in night clubs or in restaurants. Results of the survey also revealed that the most common reason why phones get stolen is that their owners leave them behind. Some phones also get stolen when the owner’s house or car is robbed, while some are personally snatched from the owner.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Is phone theft common in Japan? Kindly discuss your answer.
·         Should all smartphone models have the kill switch feature? Why do you think so?

Discussion B

·         How else can theft be prevented?
·         How does your government punish people who have committed theft? Kindly discuss briefly.

April 20, 2015