Apple, Samsung urged to do more to protect customers

The companies, however, are taking steps in the right direction to curb phone theft, says San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (center) stands with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and other officials in announcing the SOS initiative. Roger Cheng/CNET

Apple and Samsung have taken some steps in the right direction when it comes to curbing smartphone theft, but they -- and the industry -- can do much more.

That's according to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who issued a statement after Thursday's smartphone summit.

The law enforcement officials earlier kicked off the day with a press conference, when they announced their intent to push the handset industry to install a "kill switch" in their products that would render the device useless if stolen. Executives from Apple, Samsung, Google/Motorola, and Microsoft participated in the summit.

"Apple and Samsung have taken steps in the right direction, but it is clear to us that the industry as a whole has more work to do to protect consumers from violent street crimes," according to an e-mailed statement.

The Secure Our Smartphone or SOS coalition has provided a series of parameters for what it wants the companies to do. The group wants to the companies to have some sort of kill switch in new products within a year.

Apple on Monday showed off the "activation lock" feature in iOS 7 that would prevent the reactivation of a stolen phone, while Samsung has beefed up its enterprise and security features with its SAFE and Knox initiatives.

Samsung declined to comment. CNET contacted Apple for comment, and we'll update the story when the company responds.