Cellphone theft is a very serious issue. Its one thing to get your device stolen by a pickpocket or someone who runs off with your bag, its another to be threatened by a lethal weapon. Such incidents can also prove to be fatal for those who try to resist or negotiate with thieves or muggers. We’ve already seen people such as the Mayor of London and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman write to big manufacturers urging them to make their devices more secure, essentially make them useless to thieves.

Now after an act that went into effect on August 13th, all domestic smartphones manufactured in Korea from now until Q2 2014 must come with a “kill switch.” This safety feature will allow users to turn off their devices remotely. Once the kill switch is flipped, the device freezes and is rendered unusable. Thieves won’t be able to format it, the device would essentially become an expensive paperweight. Both Samsung and LG will start producing smartphones soon that will come with this switch, whereas Pantech has already incorporated the feature in its devices since February 2013. The “Complete Preventive Measures against Illegal Use of Mobile Phone” act aims to reduce the number of lost or stolen devices that are shipped out and sold in grey markets around the world.

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