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Overreach: Prosecutors Push for Mandatory ‘Kill Switch’ in All Smartphones

· Business & Technology (rev 18:23) · No Comments

(Image credit: Chicago Tribune)

In the usual overreach and grab for power which grips so many prosecutors in the country, New York State Attorney General Eric wants cell phone companies to install a “kill switch” to smartphones which would “render them inoperable when stolen.” Phone companies aren’t jumping on the bandwagon. The Chicago Tribune adds:

“With 1.6 million Americans falling victim to smartphone theft in 2012, this has become a national epidemic,” Gascon said in a statement. “Unlike other types of crimes, smartphone theft can be eradicated with a simple technological solution.”

Gascon and Schneiderman said representatives of Apple Inc, Google Inc’s smartphone maker Motorola Mobility, Samsung Electronics and Microsoft Corp would attend the summit in New York.

Last month, two men in San Francisco severely cut a 27-year-old tourist’s face and throat while robbing his iPhone. In April 2012, a 26-year-old chef was killed while being robbed of his iPhone on his way home to the Bronx.

“The theft of handheld devices is the fastest-growing street crime, and increasingly, incidents are turning violent,” Schneiderman said. “It’s time for manufacturers to be as innovative in solving this problem as they have been in designing devices that have reshaped how we live.”

Representatives for Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, Google and a cellphone trade group either declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.

Gascon and Schneiderman have both criticized the cellphone industry for what they perceive as its perceived unwillingness to solve the escalating problem.

Similar to gun control measures that were proposed in Congress months ago, the prosecutor’s “kill switch” solution doesn’t exactly solve the problem. While it might protect the data on the phone, it’s not going to stop someone from being attacked or the phone from being stolen.

Instead, making it easier for citizens to defend themselves may be a good place to start.