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U.S. officials want action on phone theft epidemic

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 14 Jun 2013 0:56 User comments (10)

U.S. officials want action on phone theft epidemic Officials in the United States are calling on smartphone makers to make changes that will deter the theft of mobile phones.
Handset makers have been criticized in the past for dragging their feet on adding features that could fight against the epidemic of handset theft. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon formed a coalition to address the problem, and to work with vendors to create features, like a "kill switch", that can render a stolen device useless.

Law enforcement authorities have been warning about mobile phone theft, as it becomes increasingly violent and prevalent. In San Francisco, more than half of reported robberies in 2012 involves a mobile phone. One study estimated the cost of phone theft at about $30 billion.

"This nationwide coalition of leaders is committed to doing everything in our power to encourage industry to be good corporate citizens and take responsible steps to ensure the safety of our consumers," Schneiderman said in a statement.

Tags: Samsung Apple
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10 user comments

114.6.2013 6:14

Quote:
to work with vendors to create features, like a "kill switch", that can render a stolen device useless.
I can tell you now a "killed" phone is still worth money for parts. Unless the phone goes into nuclear meltdown it will still be worth money to a thief.

214.6.2013 15:32

iOS7 will make a stolen phone useless.


Hack a bit, invest a bit, work a bit, jerk a bit

314.6.2013 18:40

there is already an android app for this with remote control

414.6.2013 19:46

Since the government is listening in to all the calls, seems to me they should be able to locate them easily.

514.6.2013 23:30

I find this funny even with iphones because i phones have built in serial numbers so even if they steal it and resell it its traceable morons

615.6.2013 1:39

More government intervention to "protect" us. I wonder if there is some other reason they are wanting this "kill" switch? Would they have access to this kill switch, or would it be just the provider?
As far as I know, the government doesn't reimburse people for lost or stolen phones, so it seems odd they are so concerned about this issue when there are so many other much larger problems in the country today.
It seems they are more concerned with being able to turn off devices than protect the consumer from actual harm.

715.6.2013 1:45

So the government's response to increased street crime is...force citizens and companies to make their stuff less useful and more restrictive? How refreshing to see such clearly 'we don't give a shit' attitude.


I'll stick my foot up your ass.

815.6.2013 2:05

Originally posted by megadunderhead:
I find this funny even with iphones because i phones have built in serial numbers so even if they steal it and resell it its traceable morons
sure there are ways to manipulate the built in serial number.


kill switch wouldnt do much apart from render the phone useless until its reformatted or striped for parts.

custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

920.6.2013 9:51

I'd prefer the option to make the phone stealthily announce where it is by appearing to work fine and broadcasting its IP and GPS locations to the authorities when I report my phone stolen. They are collecting this data anyway...I'd just prefer them to use it to catch people who steal your $700 phone.

1020.6.2013 23:58

Originally posted by megadunderhead:
I find this funny even with iphones because i phones have built in serial numbers so even if they steal it and resell it its traceable morons
Every ethernet port has a unique mac address. Now you can't do that in the manufacturing process. This has to be done in a prom that has to be onboard the same pcb or within an area of the chip where data can be "written once read many times". In case of a mobile phone this "write once read many times" would have to be on some proprietary chip which is not available on the market AND without which the phone would be useless. A tall order indeed.

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