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The Almighty Buck Cellphones Technology

Smartphone Kill-Switch Could Save Consumers $2.6 Billion 218

Posted by samzenpus
from the kill-it dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Creighton University professor William Duckworth has released a report finding that kill-switch technology that remotely makes a stolen smartphone useless could save American consumers up to $2.6 billion per year — mostly from reduced insurance premiums. Duckworth estimated that Americans currently spend around $580 million replacing stolen phones each year and $4.8 billion paying for handset insurance. If a kill-switch led to a sharp reduction in theft of phones, most of the $580 million spent on replacing stolen phones would be saved. And a further $2 billion in savings could be realized by switching to cheaper insurance plans that don't cover theft."
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Smartphone Kill-Switch Could Save Consumers $2.6 Billion

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  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:03AM (#46621349)
    A stolen phone is an opportunity to sell a replacement - and maybe persuade someone to upgrade and go onto a new contract. The stolen phones are usually sold abroad or to people who would not buy an expensive phone otherwise, so its not much of a loss - they might even use more data!
  • Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:03AM (#46621355) Homepage

    There are two ways such a kill-switch could go:

    1.) It can be circumvented with sufficient effort and hardware access. Then it is useless as a theft deterrent.
    2.) It cannot be circumvented. Then it renders the handset vulnerable to the malice or incompetence of whoever controls the killswitch, and thus useless.

  • by Andreas . (2995185) on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:03AM (#46621361)
    Instead of sending everyone in a defined area a "registration" Message, you can simply kill all phones of the protesters. That way there will be almost no footage of police violence and such! Let's not forget that the batteries of police cameras are always empty when it comes to such point.
  • Markup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WPIDalamar (122110) on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:04AM (#46621381) Homepage

    >> $580 million replacing stolen phones each year and $4.8 billion paying for handset insurance.

    Whoa whoa whoa... If every person got insurance, that's over an 8x markup for insurance. Since many don't, it's even a higher markup.

    Here's an easy way to save $4.3B - Stop buying the insurance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:05AM (#46621385)

    Yeah, I think we should bake this in to all phones so that big brother can kill your phone whenever he wants to. It'll be really useful for making any anti-government protests hard to coordinate.

  • by loshwomp (468955) on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:08AM (#46621423)

    Americans currently spend around $580 million replacing stolen phones each year and $4.8 billion paying for handset insurance.

    At that factor of 8, folks, is why insurance is a bad investment. Americans could save $4.3B per year by not buying insurance with a poor ROI.

  • Re:Go to hell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:09AM (#46621439)

    Problem reaction solution... create the problem, wait for the reaction from the public demanding something be done about it, implement draconian agenda that the public would otherwise have opposed if it had been proposed without the problem stage. Cell phones and smart phones are just over glorified tracking devices. They happen to have some pragmatic uses and they're really convenient, but they're also really convenient for the new fascist surveillance state that has emerged.

  • by PackMan97 (244419) on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:12AM (#46621477) Homepage

    They think a centralized kill switch would be a FANTASTIC idea! Just brick the phones for anyone who dares challenge the state.

    I can really see how this might be useful in the US. Instead of the IRS investigating tea partiers, we could just selectively brick their phones. Or if you swing the other way, disable those iPhones from all those annoying hispter Occupy protesters. Seriously, you have an iPhone and you complain about the 99%? You are the 1% globally.

  • by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:25AM (#46621665)
    Of course that fear doesn't apply in the U.S. No one but the deeply paranoid wingnuts and the foolish cult of Greenwald dudebros are afraid of the "state" turning off their phone.

    The IRS didn't just investigate the teabaggers, they investigated political groups on the right and the left, it was just the mentally-ill right-wingers with their persecution complexes (we're not persecuting them, we're making fun of them and their superstitious, backward, bigoted beliefs) that went nuts over it.
  • by ichthus (72442) on Monday March 31, 2014 @11:53AM (#46621957) Homepage

    if humanity in general was as negative and paranoid towards every bit of technological change

    There was a time when the idea that the government would capture and store every phone conversation and email of its citizens was paranoid. There was a time, not too long ago, that nobody would ever have believed that we'd have naked body scanners at the airport -- people like you would call anyone claiming this as a possibility "paranoid." Drone surveillance of the masses? Paranoid. Law enforcement roadblocks for obligatory cheek swabs? Paranoid. National database of private medical records available to unelected government entities? Paranoid

    Fuck you and your labels -- you and your naivete. If a new technology can be used for control, obviously, it will be.

  • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Monday March 31, 2014 @03:55PM (#46624571)

    They think a centralized kill switch would be a FANTASTIC idea! Just brick the phones for anyone who dares challenge the state.

    I can really see how this might be useful in the US. Instead of the IRS investigating tea partiers, we could just selectively brick their phones. Or if you swing the other way, disable those iPhones from all those annoying hispter Occupy protesters. Seriously, you have an iPhone and you complain about the 99%? You are the 1% globally.

    Yes, with centralized accounts, routing and billing for cell networks, the government definitely is totally unable to disable phones of people they don't like without a kill switch. /sarcasm

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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