AH Primetime: New York State Attorney General Calls on Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung to Help Combat Cellphone Theft

Phone-Theft-on-the-Holidays

The New York State Attorney General has begun sending out letters to top executives at Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung, where they are asking them for help in decreasing the number of cellphone thefts taking place. It also hints that the Attorney General may pursue legal action if these phone makers don’t cooperate.

As expected, the theft of smartphones have been rising in the US, which goes right along with the smartphone sales increasing like crazy over the past few years. Police Chiefs and state and district attorneys have been pushing the cellphone makers and carriers to do more to combat this problem. Up til now, they’ve had no success.

In the letters that Eric T. Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, cites two parts of state law that deal with deceptive trade practices and asks for each company to designate a representative to work with him in New York on the problem.

β€œI would like to know what Apple is doing to combat this growing public safety problem,”

Schneiderman said to Apple. He also asks the same question to other makers. He added:

β€œIn particular, I seek to understand why companies that can develop sophisticated handheld electronics, such as the products manufactured by Apple, cannot also create technology to render stolen devices inoperable and thereby eliminate the expanding black market on which they are sold,”

This is a pretty fundamental question. Many smartphones, if not all, rely on an internet connection. So having security measures to facilitate e-commerce and stop unauthorized users from accessing the phone and in many cases include GPS positioning, yet it remains very easy for thieves to steal phones, wipe them and resell them. Which happens all to often.

Last year, you may remember that the cellphone industry had created databases that would hold the network identification numbers of stolen cellphones. How this is supposed to work is a stolen cellphone is blocked from being used on any US network, but the databases are not yet universally used and don’t have good international coverage, so a stolen phone could be used overseas. Which kinda defeats the purpose of the database.

How many of you have had your smartphone or tablet stolen? Wouldn’t you love for the phone makers like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung to add some security measures to catch thieves? It would certainly be welcome in many cases. Let us know in the comments down below what your thoughts are.

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