What if you're told that a security mechanism exists that can render stolen smartphones and other handhelds useless? Not just that, it could save billions of dollars of consumer money each year.
Moreover, its development won't cost an arm and a leg, and mass acceptability by the phone industry shouldn't be a major problem either.
If there really is such a thing, then work surely must have begun to incorporate it in the next line of high-end smartphones, but in reality, there are no such plans.
The concept is the much talked about 'kill switch', which according to a new Creighton University study, could save $2.5bn on an annual basis.
The study's head, William Duckworth, believes that smartphone users spend only $500m a year to replace their stolen gadgets. However, four times that amount is spent in getting expensive phone insurance deals, which there wouldn't be any need for, if theft wasn't as frequent and widespread. The combination of these two factors ends up costing an extra $2.5bn to the final consumers.
With kill switches, theft victims could permanently disable their smartphones themselves even though they're no longer in possession of the product.
So what's stopping the big players of the tech industry from introducing kill switches? For manufacturers, more thefts mean fresh sales, while selling premium insurance is a major part of the carriers' revenue. On top of that, stolen phones serve as fodder for the resale phone market – which in itself is a billion dollar industry.
The financial wastage isn't the only aspect for which kill switches need to be introduced. Many a times, thefts are followed by incidents of violence, and even though calls have been made for big tech companies to start prioritizing consumer security, the lure of high corporate profits is stopping any real measures from being taken.