According to a program launched yesterday by CTIA – The Wireless Association®, an international nonprofit that has represented the wireless communication industry since 1984, all phones manufactured in the U.S. after July 2015 will be required to contain a “kill switch” system that can remotely disable and wipe any cell phone’s data.
Although the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” is a voluntary program, apparently all the major players have already happily jumped on board: “Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft, along with the five biggest cellular carriers in the United States, are among those that have signed on to a voluntary program announced Tuesday by the industry’s largest trade group,” reported CNN.
And the supposed reasoning — anti-theft — sounds super phony, but just like everything else, it’s all for your safety of course:
Advocates say the feature would deter thieves from taking mobile devices by rendering phones useless while allowing people to protect personal information if their phone is lost or stolen. Its proponents include law enforcement officials concerned about the rising problem of smartphone theft. (source)
Yeah, because law enforcement really cares quite a bit about whether or not your smartphone is stolen…unless it’s law enforcement stealing your phone from you in the first place because you’ve used the camera on it to protect yourself from police state activity by taking incriminating photos and videos of said law enforcement.
Well, now they won’t even have to physically take your phone from you, because apparently they’ll be able to just push a button and remotely wipe it clean of all data.
On an aside, someone tried to break into my house and it took a whole day for the cops to even bother to show up…like they really give a crap about whether or not your phone is stolen.
By the way, the 2014 CTIA Board of Directors and Officers include the higher ups (Presidents, CEOs and VPs, etc.) from most of the major communications companies including Ericsson, Verizon Wireless, Blackberry, AT&T, Sprint, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Samsung, T-Mobile, Motorola, U.S. Cellular, Nokia and Apple.
And remember, many of these companies are the same ones the NSA taps to track all your online communications and populate their databases with your data.
In this day and age of dwindling privacy ala 1984, you would think there would be a major market for a privacy-respecting telecom, but it takes a lot of money to set up the infrastructure for that kind of thing, and it’s no secret that the U.S. intelligence community via sources like In-Q-Tel (the CIA.’s official venture capital firm) are the ones incubating all the new technology these days:
Founded in 1999 as a way for the U.S. to keep up with the rapid innovation in science and technology, In-Q-Tel has been an early backer of start-ups later acquired by Google, Oracle, IBM and Lockheed Martin.
“If you want to keep up with Silicon Valley, you need to become part of Silicon Valley. The best way to do that is have a budget because when you have a checkbook, everyone comes to you,” said Jim Rickards, an adviser to the U.S. intelligence community who is familiar with the activities of Arlington, Va.-based IQT.
Given the increasing importance of cyber security and big data, it is a safe bet that the U.S. intelligence community will continue to lean on private-sector development in its behind-the-scenes fight against terrorism and other geopolitical threats. (source)
It was the U.S. military that invented the Internet in the first place, after all.