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Government Officials Urge Smartphone Makers to Include Kill Switch Function

smartphone theft

Government officials are now pushing for the integration of a Kill Switch function in smartphones. This function will brick or render a phone inoperable once it is stolen.

Phone Theft Statistics

According to USA Today, statistics show that 1 out of 3 thefts throughout the nation involve mobile phones. The figure was shown by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. Usually, some of the incidents involve violent confrontations which result to assault or murder, they added as a warning to mobile phone makers and to encourage consumers to lobby tech companies for the creation of such function.

The report said that New York Police Department coined the term “Apple-picking” to describe the theft of iPhones and other popular handheld devices like iPhones and iPads. This act comprises 40 percent of all the robberies in their State alone, the authorities mentioned.

Incident

One violent incident cited by the source is the case of the 23-year old Megan Boken in 2012. Based on her father’s account, she was chatting with her mother when the line suddenly went blank. She never picked up the phone again when her mother dialed her.

It was later discovered that she was a victim of a violent crime. The source recounted that she was shot and killed in St. Louis by an assailant who was trying to steal her phone.

The Coalition

The Secure Our Smartphones Initiative was formed by lawmakers, consumer advocates, police and other key sectors of the different States to urge smartphone companies and their shareholders to cut the operation of smartphone thieves by introducing a Kill Switch function, stated the source.

Apple’s Response

The source said that Apple hinted in the WWDC that such feature will be made available in the iOS 7 which will be released this coming fall. However, Schneiderman and Gascon commented that the giant tech company has been vague to them about what it could do, so they are pretty skeptic whether it is really the Kill Switch function that they are asking.

Source: USA Today