New York Official Pushes ‘Kill Switch’ for Cellphones

December 12, 2013
Smart Phone

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is pressing wireless carriers to put safety over profits in his effort to require anti-theft measures to be installed in smartphones.

The Democrat is sending letters Wednesday to the nation’s biggest wireless carriers regarding the industry’s decision to prohibit Samsung from pre-loading a “kill switch” application. The device can be activated remotely after a smartphone is stolen and render the phone permanently inoperable.

“The epidemic of violent smartphone theft that is plaguing communities across the country is a national threat that requires a comprehensive solution from all aspects of the industry, including manufacturers and cellphone carriers,” Schneiderman said.

He wants to put more pressure on companies to install the kill switch app.

Schneiderman is co-chairman of the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascn and London Mayor Boris Johnson. The group includes prosecutors and police seeking to remove the incentive for stealing smartphones in violent attacks.

More than half of all robberies in San Francisco involve a cellphone. The mayor’s office cites a 27-year old tourist who suffered severe knife wounds to his face and throat last summer after being robbed by two men who stole his iPhone.

In New York, Schneiderman said there was a 40 percent spike last year in cellphone thefts, sometimes referred to by authorities as “Apple-picking” after the computer company.


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Latest Comments

  • December 16, 2013 at 12:19 am
    Goldie says:
    Geo-tracking doesn't return me my phone. Plenty of meets are set in which money exchanges hands but violence ensues and the mobile device isn't returned. Kill switch it must b... read more
  • December 13, 2013 at 7:54 am
    KY jw says:
    Nah, I would prefer a kill switch.
  • December 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm
    Celtica says:
    Why not just make geotracking mandatory? I hate all this death and destruction of innocent cell phones through no fault of their own.
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