US prosecutors push for anti-phone theft measures (Update)

Jun 13, 2013 by Meghan Barr
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: DOCOMO and Huawei confirm LTE network over unlicensed spectrum

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US prosecutors push for anti-phone theft moves

Jun 13, 2013

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 ...

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.

Cancer groups to improve disclosures on pink wares

Oct 18, 2012

(AP)—New York's attorney general says the nation's two largest breast cancer charities have adopted his guidelines for fuller disclosure by those selling pink products and services in their names.

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

Bringing emergency communications together

Aug 21, 2014

A new University of Adelaide research project aims to improve emergency operations through integrated communications systems for police and the emergency services.

For top broadband policy, look no further than Canada

Aug 20, 2014

You might have seen communications minister Malcolm Turnbull raising the issue about Australian press not discussing policy problems and solutions from overseas, in a speech delivered at the Lowy Institute Media Awards last week: ...

Cities, states face off on municipal broadband

Aug 19, 2014

Wilson, N.C., determined nearly a decade ago that high-speed Internet access would be essential to the community's social and economic health in the 21st century, just as electricity, water and sewers were in the previous ...

New loss mechanism for global 4G roaming

Aug 19, 2014

A loss mechanism that has not been an issue in previous mobile handset antennas will become important for global 4G roaming, according to results of experiments carried out in Aalborg, Denmark.

User comments : 0