The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced on April 10 that it will be mandatory for local smartphone makers to release new products with a built-in kill switch to deter the widespread theft and loss of smartphones.
A kill switch, also known as an emergency stop, is a safety mechanism that renders lost or stolen phones useless via remote control or user settings. Starting with the Galaxy S5, all new smartphones manufactured in Korea will be equipped with the kill switch. LG Electronics will introduce the feature in its latest products scheduled to be launched in the third quarter of this year.
So far, mobile carriers have provided a lock application service that can protect personal information when a smartphone is lost or stolen, since remote locking and data deletion are possible. However, resetting a smartphone to factory defaults removes all data and the app itself. Therefore, the service has not fully prevented others from using lost or stolen phones that are later smuggled out of the country.
To address the problem, Samsung Electronics created the kill switch with its “Reactivation Lock” feature, and the company is now providing services that enable mobile phone locking, data deletion, and location services through a “Find My Mobile” feature. These features will block unauthorized attempts to reset the device.