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New Apple devices include default kill switch

The kill switch enables users to lock the devices and wipe them clean of data if stolen, a victory for regulators who have pushed for more anti-theft efforts.

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New Apple Inc. phones include a theft deterrent system that enables users to lock their devices and wipe them clean of data if stolen, a victory for regulators who have long pushed the telecommunications industry to do more to stem theft.

The tool, known as a kill switch, will be standard on Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices and can be installed on previous models of iPhones starting Wednesday, according to an announcement from the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

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Schneiderman has long fought alongside New York District Attorney George Gascón to convince device manufacturers to include the kill switch as a default setting on their devices.

"This is a game changer,” said Gascón. "This is a major development that will change behavior on the street and eventually turn around this violent epidemic."

The announcement marks the first time a kill switch is present as a default option on the iPhone.

In April, Apple was among 10 device makers to sign a voluntary agreement to make the feature available on new smartphones.

In 2012, 1.6 million Americans were victimized for their smartphones, according to Schneiderman's office.

 
 
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