by Al Sacco

BlackBerry Not a Part of Smartphone ‘Kill Switch’ Group (UPDATED)

Apr 18, 20143 mins
CarriersConsumer ElectronicsMobile

The majority of leading smartphone makers expressed support for the new "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment," but BlackBerry is one of the few notable device makers that has not.

UPDATE: BlackBerry shared an official comment on its lack of participation in the CTIA partnership on Tuesday, April 22. It’s included below in bold.

Yesterday, I posted my thoughts on why a smartphone “kill switch” like the one proposed by lawmakers, and the one envisioned by the new Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment, will not solve the very serious problem of smartphone theft in the United States.

Smartphone kill switch cartoon

While doing research for that post, I noticed that BlackBerry is one of the few leading mobile device makers that is not participating in the new partnership — or at least it is not listed as a member. Here’s a list of the companies that are, from wireless industry group CTIA:

  • Apple Inc.
  • Asurion
  • AT&T
  • Google Inc.
  • HTC America, Inc.
  • Huawei Device USA
  • Motorola Mobility LLC
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Nokia, Inc.
  • Samsung Telecommunications America, L.P.
  • Sprint Corporation
  • T-Mobile USA
  • U.S. Cellular
  • Verizon Wireless

That’s an impressive list, one that includes all four major U.S. carriers and the majority of leading mobile device manufacturers. It seems odd that BlackBerry is absent, especially because BlackBerry has always prided itself on its security safeguards. The company has offered a remote security service called BlackBerry Protectfor years. BlackBerry Protect lets BlackBerry users remotely lock, wipe and locate their smartphones, among other things. LG, the number five global smartphone maker based on shipments, according to IDC, is also notably absent.

I reached out to BlackBerry for a comment, and the company’s PR team tells me it’s working on a response. I haven’t received one yet, and I sent my request yesterday morning. I will update this post when/if I hear back from BlackBerry

Here’s what BlackBerry had to say:

“BlackBerry takes security seriously. We have provided best in class security to customers and enterprises around the world for more than 10 years, and we have worked to achieve the highest level of security certifications for our mobile solutions.  In fact, our robust device security solutions are being used today in regions where technology theft is a major criminal issue.

“The Company respects the CTIA and appreciates the work they have done to date on the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment.” BlackBerry looks forward to continuing to work with CTIA in this important area. This is a crucial time for industry organizations and local legislative bodies to work together and place the user first so that we collectively deliver best-in-class solutions that help individuals and consumers – in any country – protect their personal and private data so that it does not fall in the wrong hands.”

That’s not really an explantion of why BlackBerry isn’t already working with CTIA and these other groups, but it does seem to suggest that it might in the future.


Image via