State and City Officials to Investigate Anti-Theft Practices of Cellphone Makers Following Summit

iphone_5_black_whiteSeveral state and city law enforcement officials are teaming up to launch an investigation on why smartphone manufacturers including Apple have not done more to combat device thefts, reports the Huffington Post.

The investigation will be conducted by attorneys general in six different states along with district attorneys and police officials from eight additional cities. Included in the group are New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who previously called for a summit with several smartphone manufacturers to discuss device theft and San Francisco district attorney George Gascón, who has been pushing for a "kill switch" that would permanently disable stolen iOS devices

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.

On Monday, Apple announced anti-theft plans for an "Activation Lock" feature in iOS 7, which is designed to require an Apple ID and a password to disable Find My iPhone or to reactivate a phone if it is wiped.

Though the implementation of the Activation Lock will likely cut down on thefts, Schneiderman and Gascón believe that it is ultimately inadequate as a kill switch because it requires customers to utilize both iCloud and the Find My iPhone app.

Gascón and Schneiderman will be meeting with representatives from Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft on Thursday to discuss a possible solution, as part of the aforementioned summit. If the companies fail to come to a suitable agreement with officials, a source close to Schneiderman believes that a lawsuit may be considered in the future.

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Top Rated Comments

lostngone Avatar
143 months ago
We always have to blame the other guy. Unless the phone explodes you are still going to have after market phone chop shops for the parts.

This isn't a manufacturer issue. How about you go after the criminals?!?!
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
512ke Avatar
143 months ago
I kind of get government's reaction to the very real problem of phone theft, but at the same time, is it really the manufacturer's problem if your stuff gets stolen?

Why single out phones? Will cars also be demanded to require kill switches? What about smart watches? Or regular watches? Or MacBook Airs?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Refurbished_ Avatar
143 months ago
Are we able to implement a kill switch on lawyers?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
143 months ago
What a bunch of whiners. Don't they have anything better to do?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LachlanH Avatar
143 months ago
How is it the fault of the phone carriers/makers that phone thefts are high? Sure it's nice when they do implement anti-theft technologies but at no point should they be 'investigated' for not doing so.

Why not investigate car manufactures for making cars that can potentially do double or even triple the speed limit? It's clearly their fault so many people get charged with speeding wasting police time right?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisA Avatar
143 months ago
What a bunch of whiners. Don't they have anything better to do?

They were all elected to reduce crime. iPhone theft are one of the fastest raising crimes. Forcing some kind of anti-theft device is what they were elected to do.

The cell phone makers really do NOT want this because they make money from theft when someone has to replace a phone.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)