Bill seeks installation of ‘kill switch’ to prevent cell phone theft
MANILA, Philippines—A kill switch that would make stolen mobile phones useless should be installed in all such devices prior to their sale in order to discourage theft, a party-list lawmaker has proposed.
Ang Mata’y Alagaan Representative Lorna Velasco is seeking passage of a bill she filed that would require mobile service providers to install kill-switch software in all cellular phones they provide to their subscribers.
The software could be triggered remotely to erase all the data in stolen cellular phones and disable the devices, thus rendering them useless.
“The enactment of this bill into law will effectively weaken, if not eliminate completely, the black market in stolen cell phones, which in turn will lead to a reduction in crimes related to mobile phones,” Velasco said in her explanatory note to the bill.
She said cell phone theft not only endangered a victim’s physical safety, but also compromised the personal and private information stored in the device.
Cell phone service providers should be involved in the task of preventing phone theft since they are the ones who usually issue the devices to their subscribers, she added.
Under Velasco’s bill, all mobile phone network service providers should pre-install kill-switch software in all mobile phones they issue to post-paid subscribers.
The service providers would activate the kill switch that would disable the phone and erase all its data only upon the request of the subscriber, which has to first be verified.
The bill states that the kill-switch software may not be used for purposes other than the prevention of a phone’s unauthorized use by any other party.
The Philippines has millions of cell phone users, who are also major users of one of its main functions, text messaging. But the prevalent use of these phones has given rise to their theft, since the devices can easily be sold in the underground market.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.