Smartphone Kill Switch Could Save Users $2.6B a Year

For all the debates over smartphone kill switches, this one could push the envelope across the table. New research from Creighton University suggests that the controversial concept, which would make it impossible to resell stolen smartphones, could save consumers $2.6 billion a year.

HereEUs the backstory: In June 2013, law enforcement authorities started calling on the smartphone industry to adopt technologies that would deter theft by squeezing the market for selling stolen devices.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced a nationwide 'Secure Our Smartphones Initiative' last summer that aims to have smartphone makers add kill switches to mobile devices during the summer. Law enforcement announced plans to work with device manufacturers to make a kill switches, or equally effective deterrent technology, a standard feature of their products.

How the Numbers Add Up

The CTIA, the wireless industry trade group that represents the carriers, has been against the idea since it was announced. The group emphatically stated that a EUkill switch isnEUt the answer.EU But William Duckworth of the Heider College of Business at Creighton University, suggests it might be just the remedy.

Duckworth pointed to a recent report from comScore, estimating that over 145 million Americans carry smartphones. And, he argued, those smartphones make consumers easy targets for theft.

EUA stolen smartphone -- such as the iPhone 5S -- could sell for $800 or more in the United States and overseas,EU he said in his report. EUFor criminals, a stolen phone could be worth more than a stolen wallet, a tablet, or even a laptop.EU

Duckworth conducted a survey of 1,200 smartphone owners in which he reviewed the average cost of cell phones and cell phone insurance.

Here are a few stats from his findings: 99 percent of smartphone owners feel wireless carriers should give all...

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