Prosecutors team up to combat smartphone thefts

Police and other law enforcement officials would be part of a new group dedicated to clamping down on the rise in smartphone thefts, says the Associated Press.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Prosecutors in New York and San Francisco will announce a program dubbed Save Our Smartphones on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The new intiative would bring together law enforcement officials, politicians, and consumer advocates across the country to fight the growing wave of smartphone thefts. The group wants to exert pressure on smartphone companies and their stockholders to reduce the market for stolen phones. One goal would be to set up a "kill switch" that would render all such phones inoperative.

Later on Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón will be hosting a "smartphone summit" with representatives from Apple, Google/Motorola, Samsung and Microsoft.

Mobile phone thefts are involved in almost one in three robberies across the nation, the Federal Communications Commission reported last year.

"The epidemic of violent street crime involving the theft and resale of mobile devices is a very real and growing threat in communities all across America," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. "According to reports, roughly 113 smartphones are stolen or lost each minute in the United states, with too many of those thefts turning violent."

On Monday, Apple unveiled a new security feature set to debut with iOS 7. The current Find My iPhone app allows people to remotely wipe all data on a lost or stolen phone. The new Activation Lock would take that a step further by requiring the original owner's Apple ID and password in order to access a wiped phone.