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Phone companies to allow users to switch off anti-theft tracking

Starting in August, most phones sold in the US will offer the option to disable tracking and anti-theft tools if owners so desire.

By the end of July, mobile phones from 16 wireless companies in the US will not only come with free anti-theft tools so owners can remotely wipe data, remotely lock the devices, keep phones from being reactivated by thieves, and have the devices spring back to life if they’re returned to their rightful owners, but, starting next month, owners will also get the option to disable these tracking and anti-theft tools if they so desire.

This is the second of two milestones in the evolution of anti-theft technology, according to the industry group CTIA.

On Tuesday, the CTIA said that the 16 members of the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Committee will have met their voluntary commitment to make anti-theft tools available for free on all new mobile phones manufactured after July 2016 for sale in the US.

This covers most of the phones sold in the country, given that the CTIA-backed group includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Motorola, LG, Samsung, HTC and Huawei, as well as the carriers AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile.

The commitment plan was first unveiled in 2015. The first phase called for baseline anti-theft tools to be installed on all handsets offered for sale after July 2015 in the US.

The second phase, now reached, called for new handset models sold after July 2016 in the US to give authorized users the ablility to disable the anti-theft tools anytime they want to, as long as the device is still connected and still in the authorized user’s possession.

This is a win if you live in the US and don’t like the idea that your phone’s being tracked. Ditto if you dislike the idea that it can be remotely wiped or accessed.

If you want to be a smarter smartphone user, check out our 10 tips for securing your smartphone.

Also, check out Naked Security writer Paul Ducklin’s step-by-step guide to improving privacy and security on your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone.


So why is CTIA taking credit for something that was already provided for free by Google and Apple for a long time now?

They need to make a committee on how to slap the tar out of the idiot Android OEM’s that add bloatware to the phones and also do not perform security updates at a reasonable time frame or non at all.


Future news: They logged me going 135/217 with my phone when I forget to put it in the metal box. When I got home they tossed me back in jail for another year. Judge showed me my driving history by playing back a google replay for my #. Then showed me my last 4 years (since I had the phone) violations they suspended charges for, unless I get caught again. Now I’m reduced to doing burn outs only. The GPS in my car is now be used to track me, since I like to box my phone. BTW I’m looking for a fast pre 1990’s car now ;)
Lesson: Turn Off Tracking. (unless you’re a parent and it’s your kids phone)


I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle,
I want to ride it where I like.

So far, so good :-)

(The irony, of course, is that loads of cyclists take great care to track *themselves* publicly via sites like Strava. If you can’t stream the location data while you’re riding you can upload it yourself when you get to your destination :-)


Friend of mine does this, it tells him how fast he was going too. Which is why I know should start boxing (faraday cage) my phone now, or years ago…


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