New Ericsson-brand mobile 3G data modules apparently have something called a “kill pill” that’s capable of disabling a computer remotely in the instance that a customer doesn’t pay his or her bill or cancels a credit card used to pay monthly charges.
These chipsets will be found in netbooks subsidized by AT&T, although the AP seems to think that the wireless giant wouldn’t actually remotely disable anyone’s computer as a result of non-payment.
I, however, wouldn’t put anything past any wireless company. AT&T charges $500 per gigabyte of data used past the 5GB monthly cap, so what’s to say they wouldn’t zap your netbook when you forget (or refuse) to pay?
A more consumer-friendly feature of the technology is the ability to remotely disable your computer if it’s lost or stolen. The Ericcson chipset can also continue working while your computer is shut down, enabling your netbook or notebook to receive important e-mails or incoming VOIP calls without staying on all day.