In an effort to curb the growing number of smartphone thefts, executives from some of today’s biggest companies—Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft—will meet with officials in New York and San Francisco to brainstorm preemptive security measures. One such possible solution is a “kill switch” that would render a stolen device useless.
Theft has become a huge problem in bigger metropolitan areas, thanks in particular to thieves targeting iPhone owners. And as smartphones continue to get better and better, crime will only continue unless manufacturers work together to combat the problem—that’s precisely what officials hope to achieve when the companies meet.
“With 1.6 million Americas falling victim to smartphone theft in 2012, this has become a national epidemic,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said. Gascon believes that smartphone theft can be easily discouraged “with a simple technological solution.”
A meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 13 in New York, where the group will go over a possible unified solution. Apple, for its part, has already implemented Find My iPhone as a way to deter theft, but an even more aggressive answer is being sought after by officials, which is understandable. According to a Time magazine report, New York City saw a 40 percent increase in thefts of mobile devices last year, while half of robberies in San Francisco were over mobile devices.
Some of these crimes aren’t simply thieves stealing devices without the owner noticing—people are being physically threatened, even killed, just over a mobile phone. Officials aren’t just seeking for a way to fight tech with tech, but to ensure the safety of residents and tourists. But as long as smartphones get better, resale value increases. And that poses problems for everyone.
Until a solution is devised, definitely be careful with where you keep your device, and maybe don’t go texting and walking down any dark alleys.