New York Attorney General Calls for Summit with Cellphone Makers to Combat Device Theft

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With the theft of Apple products on the rise, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called for a summit with representatives from the four major smartphone manufacturers, reports the Huffington Post.

Next week, Schneiderman plans to meet with officials from Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, where he will present questions on the actions that the companies plan to take to combat device theft.
Schneiderman, along with San Francisco district attorney George Gascón, will question Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft officials in New York about why they have not yet developed technology that renders stolen mobile devices inoperable, eliminating the incentive for theft.

"The theft of handheld devices is the fastest-growing street crime, and increasingly, incidents are turning violent," Schneiderman said in a statement Wednesday. "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."
Both Schneiderman and San Francisco DA George Gascón have spearheaded efforts to cut down on device crime. Gascón has promoted the idea of a "kill switch" in Apple devices that could be used to permanently disable them in the event of a theft and Schneiderman has followed in his footsteps, sending out inquiry letters on device theft to smartphone manufacturers last month.

While all four major U.S. carriers implemented a shared database to track stolen mobile phones last year, it has proven to be largely ineffective at cutting down on device thefts.

Article Link: New York Attorney General Calls for Summit with Cellphone Makers to Combat Device Theft
 

Thunderhawks

Suspended
Feb 17, 2009
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2,087
Criminals will always find a way and whatever gets implemented will make the prices per device go up.
 

Maxkraft

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2002
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Kill Switch?

Why would a kill switch stop thieves that are just going to reprogram the phones anyway. I mean it doesn't blow up the phone or anything.
 

HarryPot

macrumors 6502a
Sep 5, 2009
941
359
If there is a way to render the phone useless until you go to the police for it to be unlocked again it could work.
 

unplugme71

macrumors 68030
May 20, 2011
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Earth
This should be controlled by the carriers, not manufacturers. Here's 3 reasons why.

1) Carriers can control this for all existing phones. Manufacturers can't.

2) Unless hardware allows for emergency calls, this will be an issue if a phone is accidentally marked as stolen. Carriers still allow emergency calls to be made even if a device is blocked.

3) Manufacturers don't always keep a record of the current customer of that device. If I sell my phone, my carrier knows I no longer use it and someone else does.

and just for *****, here's one more...

4) Manufactures don't get paid again once the item is sold, carriers do. Their job is to ensure phones are properly tied into their network. Manufactures don't want the extra expense
 

SPUY767

macrumors 68020
Jun 22, 2003
2,025
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What can realistically be done by the manufacturers?
Apple does about the most of anyone that I've seen. And without law enforcement being willing to go to the GPS location of a stolen device, there's not a whole hell of a lot that anyone can do. When police start kicking in the doors where a stolen macbook or iPhone is found, criminals will start to think twice. A blacklist that the device could use to disable itself if stolen and re-enable itself when returned to its owner would be an OK start.

Edit: and before someone goes all 4th amendment on me, I do mean kick in the doors after a judge issues a warrant.
 

sputnikv

macrumors 6502
Oct 3, 2009
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i hate how the tone of this suggests that it's apple's, google's and other phone manufacturer's responsibility to deal with theft. you can build safeguards in, but to pass the blame or even suggest that they're at fault is ludicrous
 

aricher

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2004
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Chi-il
"...have not yet developed technology that renders stolen mobile devices inoperable"

You can always "Erase iPhone" using Find My iPhone. That said, Apple needs to step up it's protocol for dealing with stolen phones. If users haven't installed Find My iPhone they should be able to call Apple, verify their identity and have the phone disabled.
 

ogee

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2006
417
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Earth.
Why would a kill switch stop thieves that are just going to reprogram the phones anyway. I mean it doesn't blow up the phone or anything.
It could :)

It could have a method that if triggered it would blow so much of the internal electrics as to make repair impossible or non cost effective.

The triggering, in my opinion, should only be possible by the customer.
 

Tiger8

macrumors 68020
May 23, 2011
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Apple benefits from theft

Apple benefits from device theft, majority of people will buy a new device
 

portishead

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Apr 4, 2007
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I still have a first gen iPhone and MacBook Air that was stolen. I have the serial numbers ready if Apple could have a kill switch, even though 1- it will never happen and 2- if it did, these devices will be dinosaurs anyway.
 

ValSalva

macrumors 68040
Jun 26, 2009
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Shouldn't the mobile phone carriers be intimately involved in this too? There must be a way for the carriers to prevent a stolen phone from working on their network.
 

freelancing

macrumors regular
Sep 30, 2007
109
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how about a kill switch for the thieves

Seriously? How about a kill switch for jewelry? No other manufacturer is held to this type of standard. I think the free market should call for this for each manufacturer to handle this in its own clever way. Apple has been researching this for some time.

A permanent kill switch could accidentally be triggered or implemented, so I don't think this is the best way to handle it. Biometrics are probably the best way to do this... require a thumb scan each time the phone is turned on or perhaps after an hour of non-use. Thieves won't be able to access data. Then a way to report your IEMI # to authorities so that any calls (except 911) would be rejected at the tower, yet traced. Thieves will always come up with another way to defeat any system, but a biometric scan would be a tough one to beat.

The thieves will just be in the parts business instead of the whole phone business.

What we need is a kill switch that lets you electronically electrocute the person who stole your stuff. Less thieves = less theft. Just sayin'
 

topper24hours

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2012
352
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This should be controlled by the carriers, not manufacturers. Here's 3 reasons why.

1) Carriers can control this for all existing phones. Manufacturers can't.

2) Unless hardware allows for emergency calls, this will be an issue if a phone is accidentally marked as stolen. Carriers still allow emergency calls to be made even if a device is blocked.

3) Manufacturers don't always keep a record of the current customer of that device. If I sell my phone, my carrier knows I no longer use it and someone else does.

and just for *****, here's one more...

4) Manufactures don't get paid again once the item is sold, carriers do. Their job is to ensure phones are properly tied into their network. Manufactures don't want the extra expense
THIS.

Well put.. Lol, two of the four "hardware manufacturers" are not even that.. they're OS designers. This idiot politician is confused. If he wants it done at the OS level- ms, apple, and google make sense... Why is samsung there? Or if he wants it on the device, why are google & ms there? And not nokia & htc? This goofball just sent out random invites to tech companies with ZERO understanding of their roles in the industry.
 

nsfw

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2009
130
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"...have not yet developed technology that renders stolen mobile devices inoperable"

You can always "Erase iPhone" using Find My iPhone. That said, Apple needs to step up it's protocol for dealing with stolen phones. If users haven't installed Find My iPhone they should be able to call Apple, verify their identity and have the phone disabled.
how does that help? if you erase your iphone yer actually doing the thief a favor as its one less step they have to do to sell it.
i've read that most stolen iphones are sold for $10-20 on the street to others who then go and turn around and sell it for more on craigslist, ebay, street shops. most of these folks are young with no job or addicts.
the majority of crimes in my city are smart phone related.
 

Laird Knox

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2010
1,767
938
This should be controlled by the carriers, not manufacturers. Here's 3 reasons why.
And a reason why not: Carriers can't do anything about a phone that is out of the country. AT&T sure isn't going to do anything about my iPhone 5 that is currently in Belize without me. ;)

i hate how the tone of this suggests that it's apple's, google's and other phone manufacturer's responsibility to deal with theft. you can build safeguards in, but to pass the blame or even suggest that they're at fault is ludicrous
Welcome to the world of the victim. There is always somebody else to blame. :(
 

ElRojito

macrumors 6502
May 6, 2012
261
310
So, if you make it so that the phone becomes COMPLETELY inoperable. What happens when someone gets a hold of your account information and does that to your phone? (if it's something the user does themselves). Then you're up a creek.

I dont think this guy has really thought this through.