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Apple, Google, Microsoft and others sign anti-phone-theft pledge

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A new pledge signed by nearly every major player in the phone industry is promising that after July of 2015, it will be a lot harder to steal a smartphone, according to a statement from the CTIA. After that date, the companies pledge that every user will be able to remotely brick and wipe their phones in the event of a theft, features currently offered by Find my iPhone and the Android Device Manager. Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung have already signed on, along with the five major US cell carriers.

Making those features standard has become a common request from law enforcement, which has dealt with a surge in smartphone thefts with the rise of mobile computing. It's a particular project of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who joined with a San Francisco District Attorney to call for tighter anti-theft measures in June of last year. According to Re/code, the latest pledge has already been called inadequate by California State Senator Mark Leno, who said a stronger "kill switch" protocol was necessary if companies were going to truly crack down on phone theft.