"The industry also has a responsibility to protect its consumers now and not wait until next year," they said.
The voluntary agreement has been signed by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. Others who are on board include Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and Asurion, which sells smartphone insurance.
Apple is closest among those companies to already having a satisfactory technology in its products. Last year it introduced "Activation Lock" with iOS 7, which carries out most of the functions required. The only complaint levied at Apple is that the software is opt-in rather than being turned on by default.
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