Remotely Disabling Netbooks

By Deane Barker on April 1, 2009

Unpaid bills? Good luck starting future laptops: Wireless carriers are subsidizing the cost of little netbooks. So, if a customer stops paying his wireless bill, they are introducing technology to remotely kill the machine.

LM Ericsson AB, the Swedish company that makes many of the modems that go into laptops, announced Tuesday that its new modem will deal with this issue by including a feature that’s virtually a wireless repo man. If the carrier has the stomach to do so, it can send a signal that completely disables the computer, making it impossible to turn on.

“We call it a ‘kill pill,’” said Mats Norin, Ericsson’s vice president of mobile broadband modules.



  1. As I said on Twitter, I find this scary and a very good reason to buy your netbook/notebook unsubsidized. This is actually worse than the policy phone companies have toward wireless phones. At least when you end your contract with your cell phone compnay…you still have access to the pics/videos/music on that phone.

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