Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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.”

Schneiderman said:

“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.

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Blogger Jerry Critter said...

My iphone has a "kill switch".

November 12, 2013 at 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of this could be solved if smartphone users didn't walk around like zombies doing whatever and leaving themselves open for the thefts.

Another big problems is they are getting into pedestrian accidents walking into crosswalks against the light and getting hit by cars and buses and again, just not paying attention.

I remember in the 60's they used to run Ads telling people to lock their cars and take their keys when they park in order to reduce car theft, I remember thinking how obvious it was, but it worked. Do we need public service announcements reminding people to pay attention and look around while using their devices, especially since they aren't going to be the ones that are watching because ...you guessed it!


November 13, 2013 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jerry: Good. We should all have that on our electronic devices.

Erik: I'm all in favor of using anti-theft technology to prevent these robberies. But you're right about all these zombies. Half the people out there are walking around staring at their hand. It's absurd. They're just asking to be mugged or hit by a car, or something.

November 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

It is absurd, but let's not get into the "blame the victim" mode. Nobody has the right to steal from you no matter how easy you make it for them to do it.

November 13, 2013 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jerry: True, I don't believe in blaming the victim, no matter how oblivious he/she is.

November 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM  

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