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US prosecutors want smartphone ‘kill switch’

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Posted June 17, 2013
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple demonstrates the new activation lock security feature in iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple demonstrates the new activation lock security feature in iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

U.S. law enforcement officials are demanding the creation of a “kill switch” that would render smartphones inoperable after they are stolen, New York’s top prosecutor said in a clear warning to the world’s smartphone manufacturers.

 

Citing statistics showing that 1 in 3 robberies nationwide involve the theft of a mobile phone, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Thursday announced the formation of a coalition of law enforcement agencies devoted to stamping out what he called an “epidemic” of robberies.

“All too often, these robberies turn violent,” said Schneiderman, who was joined at a news conference by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. “There are assaults. There are murders.”

The coalition, which is called the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, will pressure smartphone companies and their shareholders to help dry up the secondary market in stolen phones.

The announcement came on the same day Gascon and Schneiderman were scheduled to co-host a “Smartphone Summit” with representatives from major smartphone makers Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Schneiderman would not elaborate on how far his office might go to ensure that manufacturers comply with the coalition’s demands.

He likened the functionality of a “kill switch” to the ability for consumers to cancel a stolen credit card.

The general public should not be forced to pay more for smartphones that have a “kill switch,” Schneiderman said.

Read more at: Phys.org

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