DOJ urges use of ‘kill-switches’
MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday called on telecommunications companies to install “kill-switch” software in their cell phones to deter theft.
The DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime (OOC) cited a pilot project conducted in London, San Francisco and New York where the installation of “kill-switches” resulted in the decrease of mobile phone thefts.
According to the OOC, the adoption of kill-switches could be regarded as part of international best practices that telecoms should adopt to protect the property of subscribers and the lives of mobile phone owners.
“We do not need legislation to implement this. It is the responsibility of telcos as public utilities to prevent crimes and to ensure that technology is used to address peace and order issues,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in a statement.
The DOJ-OOC, which is tasked primarily with implementing the Cybercrime Prevention Act, recommended the policy action and directive regarding kill-switch software.
“It is a common sense solution to a specific type of crime. Commuters and consumers who work hard and save for their phones only to be victimized by criminals will benefit from a small effort from our telcos,” Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy, OOC head, said.
The study showed that since the introduction of the kill-switch, mobile phone thefts dropped by as much as 40 percent.–Jerome Aning
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