Telco points “Kill Switch” is device manufacturers’ responsibility
The recent issue on “Kill Switch” being pushed by the Department of Justice is aimed to protect security and privacy of mobile phone users. Globe has responded that the idea is a good one and has been in practice in the US. However, they point out that it’s the primary duty of the phone manufacturers rather than the telcos.
No more legislation is required for this kill switch measure to be implemented, according to Sec. de Lima.
The “kill switch” serves as an emergency stop or safety mechanism to shut off devices and erase its memory from a distance in cases when they are lost or stolen.
This mechanism will also deter theft as the device will be unusable once the kill switch is activated.
Globe Telecom pointed out that the issue of “Kill Switch” is primarily a responsibility of the device manufacturers and not the telco providers.
Yoly Crisanto, Globe SVP for Corporate Communications, said that device manufacturers should enable its smartphone devices to have the “Kill Switch” feature.
“If telcos will be given the mandate, but the smartphone devices are not enabled, we will need an additional layer of security such as a security app to remove data on the device,” Crisanto said. “Also, it is important that this be done by the customer themselves so an opt-in feature is necessary.”
Crisanto revealed that telcos today are capable of disabling a reported stolen mobile device systematically through its IMEI number. This function is used by the network to identify the devices but not wiping-out data stored in the phone.
“When a stolen mobile phone purchased from Globe is reported by a customer, we already have a process of immediately disabling the device through our system using its IMEI number but we don’t wipe-out data stored in the phone which is device based,” she said. “We do this only with devices purchased from us,” she added.
She also calls on mobile phone users to proactively secure their devices from theft by familiarizing themselves with the built-in features. “Latest Android phones like Samsung have already added two anti-theft features such as the “Find My Mobile and “Reactivation Lock” while Apple’s IOS has a tool called “Find My iPhone” which can wipe-out data,” she said.
In the US, it took a year for all 13 companies comprised of mobile phone manufacturers and telco providers to agree to offer the Kill Switch technology which will be implemented by mid of 2015 that would allow customers to wipe data from their devices remotely and render them inoperable when stolen.
Smartphones running on iOS and Android have built-in features that allow for remote location and remote wipe of data but those features need to be manually activated. The “Kill Switch” feature pre-activates this feature prior to shipping and will included even non-smartphone devices.
We hope device manufacturers also make the initiative and cooperate will all local telcos to make this a standard in all handsets released in the country.