Cellphone theft worth stopping

Friday, June 7, 2013
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Smartphones are the latest favorite target of street criminals, which seems a bit surprising considering that each contains a GPS that would make it easy for police to track them down — if they were so inclined. Cops aren’t, but maybe should be, given that a lot of the “Apple-picking” — so-called because many of the thefts involve Apple’s popular iPhone — has been accompanied by serious violence. Even if the original thief wasn’t caught, at least someone could be held accountable for the theft.

Something else could be done even more easily and cheaply to discourage cellphone theft — which according to a recent Associated Press report victimized 1.6 million Americans last year, to the tune of $30 billion. That would be to incorporate some kind of kill switch in cellphones that would allow manufacturers, service providers or maybe even consumers themselves to permanently disable a stolen phone. If thieves and black-market buyers knew stolen phones would be rendered useless, they’d surely stop stealing and buying them.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been pushing cellphone makers to develop such technology, and he and San Francisco’s district attorney plan to meet with a handful of them next week to make their case. We can’t think of any good reasons why the companies wouldn’t want to cooperate.

Until then, smartphone users might want to consider becoming a little smarter (i.e. careful) about where and when they whip out their fancy portable minicomputers and pay a little more attention to their surroundings when talking.

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June 7, 2013
7:11 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Just because an IPhone is showing at a particular address does not mean the Police can go get it. They need a warrant and the person may just be visiting that address. Why is it always the cops fault with the Gazette?

June 7, 2013
7:50 a.m.
reader1 says...

Few questions:

Theft of a phone involving violence would be categorized as a robbery - which police department is not investigating robberies?

Also, what is the policy of the departments in the Capital District? By saying "cops" as opposed to pointing to a certain department creates the impression that is the policy of the local departments. Thus, being vague is a way to take a swipe at the police.

Pretty disturbing allegation - I'd like to see how the writer arrived at the allegation.

June 7, 2013
8:25 a.m.
gina99 says...

When is do nothing AG Schneiderman starting an investigation into Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver? When will he start fighting public corruption that permeates the Albany cesspool? The police have bigger fish to fry. Like solving murder and rape cases.

June 7, 2013
5:23 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Good point gina99, the police have their hands full with the sexual assults that are committed by the State legislature and it's staff.

June 11, 2013
3:52 p.m.
robbump says...

Stealing things is already a crime.

We don't need special laws and regulations just because of WHAT the item is.

Let the ability to disable be a feature manufacturers decide whether or not to offer. Let the market decide if the feature is worth paying for.

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