Government Officials Bring in Security Experts to Test iOS 7's Activation Lock Feature

After launching an investigation into the anti-theft practices of smartphone manufacturers like Apple, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón will today test how Apple’s Activation Lock feature holds up against determined thieves, reports CNET.

First introduced at WWDC, Activation Lock is designed to prevent Find My iPhone from being deactivated, which keeps stolen iPhones from being wiped and reactivated. The feature is included in iOS 7, which is expected to be released to consumers this fall.

federighi_activation_lock
Gascón and Schneiderman are planning to bring in security experts from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to attempt to bypass Activation Lock in order to gain access to an iPhone. The security team will also test the Lojack for Android software on a Samsung Galaxy S4.

"While we are appreciative of the efforts made by Apple and Samsung to improve security of the devices they sell, we are not going to take them at their word," Schneiderman and Gascón said in a joint statement. "Today we will assess the solutions they are proposing and see if they stand up to the tactics commonly employed by thieves."

The two officials have pushed for greater anti-theft measures from cell phone manufacturers after a spike in mobile device thefts. While carriers agreed last year to develop a centralized database to track stolen phones, it has proven to be largely ineffectual. Both Gascón and Schneiderman have stated that they believe Activation Lock is an inadequate theft deterrent and Gascón has urged Apple to implement a "kill switch" that would permanently disable stolen iOS devices.

The results of the Activation Lock investigation are expected to be released later today.

Top Rated Comments

rmatthewware Avatar
100 months ago
This isn't their job. Doesn't the government have more important work to do?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
slrandall Avatar
100 months ago
Why is this something the government needs to be involved in? If Apple can't protect consumers themselves, then people might not want to buy an iPhone with their next purchase.

Apple, known for jumping through all sorts of hoops to keep any remotely negative experience away from the iEcosystem, has far more incentive to deter theft than the government.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Consultant Avatar
100 months ago
Samsung didn't make an effort. Lojack is a third party service.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nzalog Avatar
100 months ago
Oh so glad the government is getting involved... I mean I trust them more than Apple. :rolleyes:

----------

This isn't their job. Doesn't the government have more important work to do?

Spying on us is so June 2013 government, this is good guy July 2013 gubment.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madsci954 Avatar
100 months ago
How does this work. Do we just use find my iphone to wipe the phone?

If the phone is wiped in any way (iCloud remote wipe, reset from Settings, DFU restore), if Find My iPhone is on, you HAVE to enter the iCloud credentials of the original owner to move past it. You also have to enter the iCloud credentials to disable Find My iPhone.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darkplanets Avatar
100 months ago
Why is this something the government needs to be involved in? If Apple can't protect consumers themselves, then people might not want to buy an iPhone with their next purchase.

Because I'm sure they want a back door. Can't have stolen phones, but they still want on demand access to your device. Political jab aside, this is pretty unnecessary. I don't see lo-jack being mandatory on all new cars, or remote kill switches.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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