Five major carriers represented by wireless association CTIA joined a host of mobile device makers on Monday in agreeing to provide a free “baseline anti-theft tool” for installation on new model smart phones that are marketed to U.S. customers starting in July 2015. The “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” unveiled by CTIA responds to recent legislative efforts at the state and federal levels to mandate “kill switch” technology in wireless devices that would enable subscribers to deactivate their stolen smart phones. In a January letter to the top five U.S. wireless carriers, Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)—the sponsor of a pending kill switch measure introduced earlier this year in the Senate—pointed to recent FCC estimates that one out of every three robberies in the U.S. involves a cell phone. Statistics cited by the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman, another top kill switch advocate, show that more than 1.6 million Americans lost their smart phones through theft in 2012. Monday’s pact was signed by the four national wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile US) and by United States Cellular Corp. Apple, Google, Motorola Mobility, Microsoft and Samsung, meanwhile, are among the nine manufacturers that signed the commitment. Under the pact, participating carriers and device makers will offer, without charge to customers, anti-theft software that is pre-loaded or downloadable on smart phones. Such software will enable subscribers to (1) remotely erase personal data such as contacts, photos and e-mails that are contained on a lost or stolen device, (2) render a lost or stolen device unusable except for purposes of emergency 911 communications, (3) prevent reactivation without the authorized user’s consent, and (4) enable the authorized user to reverse inoperability and restore personal data on recovered devices. The signatories also agreed to permit wireless subscribers to “use other technological solutions, if available,” that are designed to thwart cell phone theft and protect their personal data. Explaining that “it’s important different technologies are available so that a ‘trap door’ isn’t created that could be exploited by hackers and criminals,” CTIA President Steve Largent told reporters that the flexibility offered by Monday’s voluntary industry commitment “provides consumers with access to the best features and apps that fit their unique needs while protecting their smart phones.” Asserting, however, that the agreement “falls short,” Schniederman joined San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon in urging the participants “to make their anti-theft features enabled by default on all devices, rather than relying on consumers to opt-in.”