Smartphone Thefts: Company Profits vs. Consumer Safety
In New York City, smartphone theft is the fastest-growing street crime. Last year, twenty percent of all street crimes involved smartphones or tablets. (I don’t own either one of those newfangled contraptions, so I have no dog in this fight.)
Most of these robberies could be prevented if the manufacturers were willing to use an already-existing anti-theft technology. But there’s no profit in doing that, so why bother with the extra expense? And besides, when somebody’s smartphone is stolen, the victim has to go out and buy a new one. Ka-Ching!
Thirty-one state attorneys general — led by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — have started the Secure Our Smartphones initiative. New York City’s Mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio, and the mayor of London, have also joined this initiative.
The group has sent a letter to executives at Google/Motorola, Microsoft and Samsung. Apple didn’t receive the letter because they’ve been cooperating with this effort.
The letter states that South Korea has a Kill Switch that allows stolen smartphones to be permanently disabled, and this “raises the questions as to what the manufacturers are capable of doing if one country has already mandated a more robust response.”
The letter says some of these smartphone security features were tested last July, and “while some of these new anti-theft security features are encouraging, the response from manufacturers needs to be more robust.”
“Manufacturers and carriers need to put the public safety before corporate profits and stop this violent epidemic.”
According to last night’s newscast, the thirty-one attorneys general are considering legal action if the smartphone manufacturers don’t cooperate.