Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) / Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc (NYSE:MMI), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) and other manufacturers are meeting up with law enforcement officials in New York City and San Francisco to talk about violent phone thefts. The companies plan to discuss solution ideas like a “kill switch” which would make the stolen devices useless.
George Gascon, District General Attorney for San Francisco, said in a recent press release, “With 1.6 million Americans falling victim to smartphone theft in 2012, this has become a national epidemic. Unlike other types of crimes, smartphone theft can be eradicated with a simple technological solution.”
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Gascon And Apple Inc.’s Representative Meetings
Gascon will join Eric Schneiderman, New York General Attorney, to meet with representatives for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and the other companies on June 13th in New York. The New York Times also ran a report discussing the issue. Schneiderman explained in the release, “The theft of handheld devices is the fastest-growing street crime, and increasingly, incidents are turning violent. It’s time for manufacturers to be as innovative in solving this problem as they have been in designing devices that have reshaped how we live.”
So far, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has yet to release a statement on the matter.
The report also includes a blurb from a Time magazine report claiming that New York City has experienced a 40% increase in mobile device thefts last year. Also, more than half the thefts in San Francisco are of mobile devices.
Gascon suggested that a kill-switch feature would make the devices useless if stolen. Many crooks often take the stolen devices, remove the memory, and sell the phone. A kill-switch would render the phone useless and make it pointless to resell. However, one security specialist noted by the New York Times said the savvy criminals could find a way to get around the kill-switch feature. He also said if they made the phone re-activation process harder and more costly, the number of device thefts might drop.