US prosecutors push for anti-phone theft moves

Jun 13, 2013
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple demonstrates the new activation lock security feature in iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The top prosecutors in San Francisco and New York planned Thursday to announce the formation of a nationwide initiative and coalition of police, prosecutors and other officials in an attempt to thwart a surge in smartphone thefts.

Officials said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman were set to launch what they call the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative at a New York news conference on Thursday.

The coalition includes prosecutors, police and political officials and consumer advocates from more than a dozen states and intends to put pressure on smartphone companies and their shareholders to help dry up the secondary market in stolen phones.

The announcement comes on the same day Gascon and Schneiderman are scheduled to co-host a "Smartphone Summit" with representatives from major smartphone makers Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Among the moves the prosecutors seek is the industry-wide introduction of a "kill switch" that would render stolen phones worthless.

Apple said at a conference of web developers this week that such a feature would be part of its iOS7 smartphone software to be released in the fall. Gascon and Schneiderman said in a statement they were "appreciative of the gesture" but would reserve judgment until they could "understand its actual functionality."

Almost 1 in 3 robberies nationwide involves the theft of a mobile phone, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

"The epidemic of violent street crime involving the theft and resale of mobile devices is a very real and growing threat in communities all across America," Schneiderman said in a statement. "According to reports, roughly 113 smartphones are stolen or lost each minute in the United states, with too many of those thefts turning violent."

In New York, police have coined the term "Apple-picking" to describe thefts of the popular iPhone and other mobile products like iPads.

Explore further: Why the SIM card has had its day

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US officials to meet over cellphone thefts

Jun 05, 2013

Top law enforcement officials from San Francisco and New York plan to meet with some of the largest U.S. smartphone makers next week to help thwart the rise in cellphone thefts and robberies.

US stolen phone database in operation

Nov 01, 2012

US mobile carriers began implementing a system this week to block the use of stolen mobile phones, part of an effort to curb rising thefts of smartphones such as the iPhone.

Wireless providers to disable stolen phones

Apr 10, 2012

(AP) -- Major wireless service companies have agreed to disable cellphones after they are reported stolen under a strategy intended to deter the theft and resale of wireless devices.

Recommended for you

Why the SIM card has had its day

Mar 05, 2015

The small microchips known as "subscriber identity modules" or SIM cards that are required for mobile phones to log on to a phone network will soon be 25 years old. While mobile phones and network technology ...

The UK doesn't yet need net neutrality regulations

Mar 04, 2015

The net neutrality debate in the US has ended, at least for now, with the Federal Communications Commission ruling for stricter regulation of telecoms and internet service providers (ISPs) in order to maintain ...

Italy adopts plans to shift into Internet fast lane

Mar 04, 2015

Italy's government adopted a six-billion-euro plan Tuesday to modernise its Internet network and improve access to broadband in hopes of shedding its reputation as one of Europe's online laggards.

Phone firms and the quest for the 5G Holy Grail

Mar 03, 2015

Lightning-quick downloads, driverless cars and remote surgery: telecom firms are racing to develop a new generation of "5G" mobile networks that could start to change the world in five years.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.