Mailbox: Introduce cellphone 'kill switch' here

Mailbox: Introduce cellphone 'kill switch' here

With the increase in cellphone-related crimes, Singapore should pass a law to require cellphone manufacturers to install a "kill switch", which can disable phones if they are lost or stolen ("US law calls for kill switch in cellphones"; Aug 27).

Currently, those whose phones have been stolen may trace them using the phones' International Mobile Equipment Identity (Imei) numbers.

However, this is no good if the stolen phones are sent overseas, where tech-savvy syndicates can override the system.

Hence, having the kill switch would deter thieves as the phones cannot be resold.

If this cannot be done, then the least the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) can do is mandate that telcos deactivate the SIM card and enable blanket blocking worldwide, so even new SIM cards cannot be used in a stolen phone.

The telco could also alert other telcos to the theft.

The cost of blocking can be shared among all telcos.

The IDA and telcos can also work with police to find a solution that will have minimum disruption to the networks.

More must be done to prevent the theft of phones and the export of stolen phones.

Francis Cheng

This article was first published on September 08, 2014.
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