A security software development company in the UK are marketing a service that enables you to disable a laptop from anywhere in the world using standard GSM or wireless communications. Apparently, if you lose your computer, you can log into the vendors portal and activate a signal that sends a command to your computer, which then activates a destructive program that wipes the hard disk clean. So if you lose your laptop, you don't lose the data with it - because it gets totally wiped.
The other good thing is that they offer a service to back your hard disk up which means that it is just as easy to reload the data, either when the laptop is returned or you get the replacement.
The important thing being that the data does not get into the hands of the wrong people.
Anyway, that's the upside. The downside is that this security provider has gone out of their way to disclose how it works, so it won't be very long (about 1 minute) before theives and opportunists are disabling the communications capabilities or zapping the electronics entirely.
There is a fine line between security and marketing and most don't ever get to recognise it.