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: SF, NY officials wait to judge Apple 'kill switch'

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

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

4 hours ago

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

5 hours ago

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

15 hours ago

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Netflix's Comcast deal improves quality of video

Apr 14, 2014

Netflix's videos are streaming through Comcast's Internet service at their highest speeds in the past 17 months now that Netflix is paying for a more direct connection to Comcast's network.

New research on gigabit wireless communications

Apr 10, 2014

Research on gigabit wireless communications has been presented by researchers from the University of Bristol at the world's leading wireless communications and networking conference, IEEE WCNC 2014, in Turkey ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...