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New York Official Wants Apple, Google to Help Stop Smartphone Theft

by Brandon Russell | May 13, 2013May 13, 2013 10:00 pm PST

Find my iPhone

With smartphone theft on the rise, New York City officials are growing more and more concerned with public safety. Devices aren’t just being snatched from tabletops or bar counters; thieves are holding consumers up at knife and even gunpoint, threatening serious physical harm over the latest and greatest handsets. Carriers have already made a pledge to put a stop to the issue, and one New York State attorney general wants some of today’s biggest companies to help as well.

Eric T. Schneiderman on Monday sent out letters to top executives at Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, pleading with the companies to develop new methods to deter theft. According to Schneiderman, the letters insisted company officials meet with mobile security company, Lookout, to create new antitheft measures, which in turn could potentially lead to fewer incidents of violent street crime surrounding smartphone theft.

The problem has recently gotten so bad that the New York City Mayor blamed a recent crime spike squarely on iOS device theft.

“The companies that dominate this industry have a responsibility to their customers to fulfill their promises to ensure safety and security,” Schneiderman said. “This is a multibillion-dollar industry that produces some of the most popular and technologically advanced consumer electronic products in the world.”

Schneiderman argues that such sophisticated devices should have measures that make them inoperable if stolen—going beyond something such as Find My iPhone. Even with some services in place, Schneiderman wants to know exactly what antitheft measures the four industry giants are developing to deter thieves even further. It’s unclear what Scheiderman has in mind, but what companies offer now he believes isn’t enough.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...