NY AG pushes ‘kill switch’ for cellphones

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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— 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 questioning 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 Gascon 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. 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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December 11, 2013
11:03 a.m.
biwemple says...

I would worry about this application being exploited by hackers and a mass shutdown of multiple users occurs. It should be left up to individual to permit install of this app if they wish, not pre-loaded by some government edict.

December 11, 2013
3:40 p.m.
robbump says...

Similar to biwemple's view, Samsung should be allowed to load the app; but government should in no way MANDATE the application be installed. Let the market (buyers) decide if they wish the bells and whistles.

December 11, 2013
3:44 p.m.
rvanhoes says...

I agree. This app should be an individual choice not a government mandate.

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