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Coming Soon? Opt-In Anti-Theft Kill Switch and Facebook e-Wallet

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD | Last updated on

Facebook, like Google, continues to add to its list of services -- Facebook wants to be our everything. And this week news broke that Facebook is weeks away from getting e-wallet approval in Ireland. Is the U.S. next?

And as a California anti-theft kill switch bill gets debated, mobile phone manufacturers take a preemptive stand. But is it enough to prevent theft?

Facebook's e-Wallet

Facebook has made attempts at becoming a digital currency provider with Facebook Credits and Facebook Gifts, and its latest attempt is an e-wallet, reports CNET. Officials in Ireland are weeks away from approving a Facebook e-wallet that could be used "to handle electronic money, or 'e-money,' that can be used throughout Europe.'"

Facebook is not alone in its attempt at creating an e-wallet in trying to give PayPal some competition. Google launched the Google Wallet app, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon is focusing in on payments as an area for growth, reports Re/Code. Tom Taylor of Amazon stated, "The pressure I feel from Jeff is, 'Go faster.'" Well, faster may not be fast enough if the Facebook e-wallet goes through in Europe, as the U.S. will surely be next on Facebook's list.

Mobile Phone Anti-Theft Kill-Switch

Earlier this week mobile phone manufacturers and service providers including Apple, AT&T, Samsung, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint proposed their own solution to the anti-theft kill switch debate. They have proposed a free "opt-in" tool that could be preloaded or downloaded, and that would allow a user to (1) remote wipe data; (2) make the phone operable only to authorized users; (3) prevent reactivation without the user's consent; and (4) restore the data on the phone and make the phone operable if the user recovers the phone, reports Ars Technica.

Though a step in the right direction, Mark Leno, the California state senator who proposed the kill-switch bill says it's not enough. Instead, he would prefer an "opt out" feature, stating, "While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today's 'opt-in' proposal misses the mark." He added, "For stolen phones to have no resale value on the black market, the vast majority of consumers must have the theft-deterrent feature pre-enabled on their phones, using an 'opt-out' solution," reports Ars Technica.

If the California bill passes, the mobile phone companies will have to change their plans -- possibly to accommodate the whole country -- considering the market share that California has.

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