Federal authorities announced a plan to test the new smartphones of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) to see if the anti-theft security features of the devices are effective.


In a joint statement, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said that state and federal security experts will test the security features of the recently introduced iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4.

The primary objective of the test is to find out whether they can get around the anti-theft security features called “Activation Lock” in the iPhone 5 as well as the “Lojack for Android” in the Samsung Galaxy S4.

‘Apple Picking’ crimes on the rise and turning violent

In their statement, Gascón and Schneiderman noted that approximately 113 smartphones were stolen every minute in the United States. According to them, many of the thefts that occurred are turning violent and deadly. They emphasized that their initiative, known as “Secure our Smartphones”, is committed to ensuring the safety of the products and customers of the industry.

“Finding technical solutions that will remove the economic value of stolen smartphones is critical to ending the national epidemic of violent street crimes commonly known as ‘Apple Picking,” said Gascón and Schneiderman.

Apple and Samsung security features must be free to consumers

“While we are appreciative of the efforts made by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung to improve security of the devices they sell, we are not going to take them at their word. Today we will assess the solutions they are proposing and see if they stand up to the tactics commonly employed by thieves.  Together, we are working to ensure that the industry imbeds persistent technology that is effective, ubiquitous and free to consumers in every smartphone introduced to the market by next year,” added Gascón and Schneiderman.

Meanwhile, a report from CNET quoted the reaction of the spokesperson of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) regarding the plan of state and federal authorities to test the security feature of the iPhone. The spokesperson maintained the previous statement of the company that it “led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices.”

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) said its Activation Lock security feature prevents thieves because it requires an Apple ID and password before they can turn off the Find My iPhone feature, erase data or re-activate the device.