Lawmakers Asking All Cell Phone Providers To Offer ‘Kill Switch’

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s a federal push to stop cell phone theft in its tracks. It’s a new plan to put a kill switch in every phone and render it useless for criminals.

Christie Ileto has more on the possible solution to a skyrocketing problem.

It happens instantly. Your cell phone–stolen. It’s a surging crime lawmakers this week are trying to kill, asking all cell phone providers to offer a kill switch.

Senator Barbara Mikulski says it essentially allows victims to make their stolen phones inoperable and wipe away sensitive information.

Reporter: “Let’s say somebody stole your phone. Would they be able to go through it?”

Woman: “Yeah. And they would be able to get some of my personal information. That’s why I think it’s a good idea.”

Cell phones, particularly smart phones, are a hot commodity on the streets–almost costing a Towson student his life.

“They just came from behind me really suddenly and they were like, ‘What you got? What you got?'” Towson student Mykeal said.

Mykeal spoke to WJZ after he was stabbed multiple times for his phone.

“I started feeling weaker and I sat down next to a telephone pole. The next thing I remember the police were there,” he said.

The FCC says nearly 1 in 3 robberies involve cell phone thefts. Criminals mainly target smart phones.

“Would you walk about with $500 or $600 or $700 in your hand? Of course you wouldn’t do that. But we do it with our phone each and every day,” Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said.

While lawmakers try to crack down on this brazen crime, some smart phone users are protecting their phones the old-fashioned way–out of sight, out of mind.

“I’m, of course, not going to be gallivanting down the street, holding my cell phone out saying, ‘Here. This is what I have right here,'” Andrew Aquino said.

If you’re an iPhone user, you already have the ability to disable or remotely wipe sensitive data from your phone if it is lost or stolen.

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