Smartphone thefts probed by state, city prosecutors as companies fail to act to their liking

“Top state and city law enforcement officials on Thursday will announce an expansive investigation into the failure of Apple and other smartphone manufacturers to adopt measures that may limit a wave of thefts targeting their products, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told The Huffington Post,” Gerry Smith reports for The Huffington Post. “The coalition includes attorneys general from six states — New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Delaware, Minnesota and Hawaii — and district attorneys and high-level police officials from eight major cities, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Boston, Schneiderman said.”

“The group intends to probe why Apple and other smartphone makers have failed to create a so-called ‘kill switch’ that would render their devices inoperable if stolen — a feature that could undercut the value of stolen gadgets now trading on a global black market. The officials also plan to investigate whether smartphone manufacturers have not adopted effective anti-theft measures out of simple financial interest — a stolen phone generates new business as crime victims buy replacements,” Smith reports. “Replacing lost or stolen cell phones costs American consumers some $30 billion per year, according to a study by the mobile security firm Lookout.”

“The coalition and its far-reaching probe shows that law enforcement officials aren’t satisfied with Apple’s announcement on Monday that it intends to add a new feature to the iPhone aimed at preventing thieves from re-activating stolen devices by requiring that they first enter a password,” Smith reports. “Apple portrayed the new ‘activation lock’ as ‘a really powerful theft deterrent.’ But Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who have together pressed Apple for action, consider the new feature to be inadequate because it appears to only work if customers have iCloud accounts and activate the ‘Find My iPhone’ app, according to a source familiar with their thinking.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The problem is not the item that’s being stolen. The problem is the person that’s doing the stealing.

Setting up an “iCloud account” [Apple ID] means registering your ownership of device. This is how Apple knows who owns the iPhone, dear coalition of genius politicians.

We suppose you’re right, however, in this day and age expecting people to have even a bit of personal responsibility and turn on theft protection if they desire said theft protection is way, way too much to expect. Better to force something like the “Find My iPhone” app’s remote location-tracking upon people, of course. Better for government tracking, too.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “theloniousmac” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple reveals iOS 7 theft deterrent feature ‘Activation Lock’ ahead of gov’t meeting on crime – June 10, 2013
U.S. officials call on Apple, other mobile device makers to help stop smartphone theft – June 6, 2013
New York City crime is up and Mayor Bloomberg blames Apple iPhone thieves – December 28, 2012
Apple product thefts in New York City outpace rise in overall crime – September 25, 2012
Police bust up New York-based crime ring focused on Apple products – October 8, 2011

33 Comments

  1. I have it from a reliable source that the framework of the mothership will be built primarily from Reardon steel, and that the center courtyard, the inner sanctum, will be known as, wait for it…Atlantis. Where are you John Galt?

  2. The same politicians will demand that women wear long black sacks to prevent men from wanting to rape them. It must be the victims fault for many things these days, right?

    How about paper currency requiting an ownership tracking device so that it can be made null and void if it is stolen too? The politicians are in complete control of this type of attractive commonly stolen item.

  3. Just realized what these politicians want. I was thinking what’s wrong with Apples proposed scheme? Then it struck me…..THE POLITICIANS WANT THE CONTROL TO THROW THE “KILL SWITCH”

    As it stands, Apples solution gives the owner control over their device. The owner enters the password and presto….the device comes to life. The politicians want that control…..by telling Apple to throw the “kill switch” at any random time they choose.

    Say for example you are Tom Cruise in the Minority Report. You are on the run……and before you can say 1984 or NSA….your communication device is killed.

  4. Obviously, a kill switch is a stupid idea from brainless idiot politicians. Why should the onus be on Apple? What’s next, Coach and Fendi having their bags disintegrate when stolen? This just goes to show you how utterly stupid these people that we elect are. I guess we deserve it, since most of the electorate is just as stupid and naive.

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