It’s a growing crime wave and you’d be surprised to know who is more upset about iPhone thefts than anyone else. No, it’s not Apple, Google, Nokia, or BlackBerry. It’s the government that wants to put a stop to smartphone theft– local, state, and federal. Why?
Killing Me Softly
The Maypalo blog ran a great story (and photo) about a special team of cops deployed in New York to catch iPhone and iPad thieves.
iPhones, even stolen, are worth money. They’re easy to steal, easy to sell, and make quick money for thieves.
Why should authorities at local, state and federal levels worry about iPhone sales? People get hurt. As smartphone sales have skyrocketed, so have thefts and injuries to victims.
Authorities want an easy way to kill a stolen or lost iPhone so that it’s no longer worth stealing, which, ostensibly should cut down on the crime.
SOS, the Secure Our Smartphones initiative came from U.S prosecutors and others who are pushing Apple and other manufacturers to install a kill switch, or make it much easier to disable a stolen phone.
Why do they care? Authorities are required to apply resources to help find lost smartphones, and, as smartphone sales rise, all that effort requires even more money at a time when local, state, and federal governments are pinching pennies.
The idea of the kill switch is to make the stolen smartphone useless, and make it as easy to do as canceling a stolen credit card. In iOS 7, Apple introduced the Activation Lock feature which requires a username and a password to enable a wiped or locked phone.
Authorities want a total kill switch and smartphone vendors, including Apple, don’t appear to want to provide it. Why not? Follow the money.
For every smartphone that gets stolen, the victim needs a new smartphone. If smartphones are no longer valuable enough to steal, smartphone vendors, including Apple, will lose tens of millions in additional sales. Some estimate that over 100 smartphones are stolen every minute in the U.S. alone. Do the math. That’s 6,000 smartphones per hour, most of which need to be replaced by new phones.
In New York, smartphone thefts now make up 40-percent of all thefts in the city, and iPhones make up 70-percent of that number, so Apple has a lot of skin in the game. It’s a sad situation when smartphone manufacturers would rather your phone be stolen than provide a way to make the phone less attractive to thieves.