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New York Attorney General Calls for Summit with Cellphone Makers to Combat Device Theft

schneidermanWith the theft of Apple products on the rise, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called for a summit with representatives from the four major smartphone manufacturers, reports the Huffington Post.

Next week, Schneiderman plans to meet with officials from Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, where he will present questions on the actions that the companies plan to take to combat device theft.
Schneiderman, along with San Francisco district attorney George Gascón, will question Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft officials in New York about why they have not yet developed technology that renders stolen mobile devices inoperable, eliminating the incentive for theft.

"The theft of handheld devices is the fastest-growing street crime, and increasingly, incidents are turning violent," Schneiderman said in a statement Wednesday. "It's time for manufacturers to be as innovative in solving this problem as they have been in designing devices that have reshaped how we live."
Both Schneiderman and San Francisco DA George Gascón have spearheaded efforts to cut down on device crime. Gascón has promoted the idea of a "kill switch" in Apple devices that could be used to permanently disable them in the event of a theft and Schneiderman has followed in his footsteps, sending out inquiry letters on device theft to smartphone manufacturers last month.

While all four major U.S. carriers implemented a shared database to track stolen mobile phones last year, it has proven to be largely ineffective at cutting down on device thefts.

Top Rated Comments

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20 months ago
This should be controlled by the carriers, not manufacturers. Here's 3 reasons why.

1) Carriers can control this for all existing phones. Manufacturers can't.

2) Unless hardware allows for emergency calls, this will be an issue if a phone is accidentally marked as stolen. Carriers still allow emergency calls to be made even if a device is blocked.

3) Manufacturers don't always keep a record of the current customer of that device. If I sell my phone, my carrier knows I no longer use it and someone else does.

and just for *****, here's one more...

4) Manufactures don't get paid again once the item is sold, carriers do. Their job is to ensure phones are properly tied into their network. Manufactures don't want the extra expense
Rating: 10 Votes
20 months ago
i hate how the tone of this suggests that it's apple's, google's and other phone manufacturer's responsibility to deal with theft. you can build safeguards in, but to pass the blame or even suggest that they're at fault is ludicrous
Rating: 8 Votes
20 months ago
Schneiderman calls for summit to end phone crime? Has he invited Batman, Spiderman and Superman to the meeting?

[Apologies in advance - could not resist and having an immature moment]
Rating: 7 Votes
20 months ago
What can realistically be done by the manufacturers?
Rating: 6 Votes
20 months ago
Why would a kill switch stop thieves that are just going to reprogram the phones anyway. I mean it doesn't blow up the phone or anything.
Rating: 5 Votes
20 months ago
Seriously? How about a kill switch for jewelry? No other manufacturer is held to this type of standard. I think the free market should call for this for each manufacturer to handle this in its own clever way. Apple has been researching this for some time.

A permanent kill switch could accidentally be triggered or implemented, so I don't think this is the best way to handle it. Biometrics are probably the best way to do this... require a thumb scan each time the phone is turned on or perhaps after an hour of non-use. Thieves won't be able to access data. Then a way to report your IEMI # to authorities so that any calls (except 911) would be rejected at the tower, yet traced. Thieves will always come up with another way to defeat any system, but a biometric scan would be a tough one to beat.

The thieves will just be in the parts business instead of the whole phone business.

What we need is a kill switch that lets you electronically electrocute the person who stole your stuff. Less thieves = less theft. Just sayin'
Rating: 5 Votes
20 months ago

This should be controlled by the carriers, not manufacturers. Here's 3 reasons why.

1) Carriers can control this for all existing phones. Manufacturers can't.

2) Unless hardware allows for emergency calls, this will be an issue if a phone is accidentally marked as stolen. Carriers still allow emergency calls to be made even if a device is blocked.

3) Manufacturers don't always keep a record of the current customer of that device. If I sell my phone, my carrier knows I no longer use it and someone else does.

and just for *****, here's one more...

4) Manufactures don't get paid again once the item is sold, carriers do. Their job is to ensure phones are properly tied into their network. Manufactures don't want the extra expense


THIS.

Well put.. Lol, two of the four "hardware manufacturers" are not even that.. they're OS designers. This idiot politician is confused. If he wants it done at the OS level- ms, apple, and google make sense... Why is samsung there? Or if he wants it on the device, why are google & ms there? And not nokia & htc? This goofball just sent out random invites to tech companies with ZERO understanding of their roles in the industry.
Rating: 4 Votes
20 months ago

What can realistically be done by the manufacturers?


Apple does about the most of anyone that I've seen. And without law enforcement being willing to go to the GPS location of a stolen device, there's not a whole hell of a lot that anyone can do. When police start kicking in the doors where a stolen macbook or iPhone is found, criminals will start to think twice. A blacklist that the device could use to disable itself if stolen and re-enable itself when returned to its owner would be an OK start.

Edit: and before someone goes all 4th amendment on me, I do mean kick in the doors after a judge issues a warrant.
Rating: 4 Votes
20 months ago

What can realistically be done by the manufacturers?


I believe Microsoft is already has a phone that can't won't be stolen.:p Steve Balmer channeling Oscar Goldman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HofoK_QQxGc), "Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first pilfer-proof phone. The Zune phone will be that phone." That's right, make an undesirable phone. That's the only real way to make sure no one steals it.

I remember my first car, an '84 Totoya pickup truck with no power windows, power door lock or power steering. NOBODY wanted to steal that thing.:p I parked with the doors unlocked and sometimes with the keys in the ignition. Still no takers.
Rating: 3 Votes
20 months ago
This is politics. Aimed at raising his name recognition. Nothing else. These are not the droids you are looking for.

Rocketman
Rating: 3 Votes

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