New York Attorney General Presses Apple and Google on Smartphone Thefts
With New York City seeing significant increases in the theft of Apple products in recent years -- up 40 percent in 2012 from the prior year -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has written to a number of smartphone manufacturers to ask what the companies are doing to combat the thefts of their devices, reports Bloomberg.
San Francisco district attorney Georce Gascón has previously pressed Apple about the possibility of a 'kill switch' in iOS devices to disable them if stolen, but said he was 'underwhelmed' by Apple's response.
A national stolen phone database that was rolled out recently has reportedly had little effect on smartphone thefts.
In his letter to the companies, Schneiderman cited the April 2012 murder of a 26-year-old chef at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan who was killed for his iPhone on his way home, and a February incident this year in which three people were stabbed on a subway platform in the Queens section of New York in a fight over an iPhone.
Schneiderman said he would be “especially concerned” if the companies, which may have failed to live up to representations to consumers about safety and security, have benefited from increased sales of replacement devices.
While Apple and other smartphone makers would receive some minor monetary benefit from victims purchasing replacement phones, the revenue would be a drop in the bucket compared to the overall smartphone market.
Additionally, the goodwill generated by disabling stolen phones would more than outweigh any fiscal impact. Apple does offer a free service called 'Find My iPhone' that can erase or lock stolen phones, but erasing a phone does not render the phone unusable.
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