March 6th, 2014
Categories: Kill switches on smartphones, Phones, Technology, Theft
There was a time when you could hardly walk down a city street without hearing the crunch of ground glass under your feet because someone had smashed a window to steal a car radio and/or tape deck. It got so bad that people would remove and bring their radio with them either shopping or to dinner and post “No radio in car” signs.
Now car radios work only in the car in which they are installed. Result: No more such thefts. The windfall from all those replacement purchases lasted for quite a while but all affected industries willingly gave up that source of income.
According to Edgar Sandoval and Tina Moore in the New York Daily News, “In New York City alone, 20% of robbers went after smartphones, a 40% increase from a year ago, authorities said. The crime has become known as ‘Apple picking.’”
To cut down if not eliminate smartphone theft that has led to death in some cases, a Bronx Congressman is asking for Federal legislation to require manufacturers to participate in a similar way by installing technology that stops a [stolen] mobile phone from working.
They continued “The leaders [Bronx Congressman José Serrano, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton] said the phone companies could either make the move on their own or the law will be enforced by the FCC, Serrano said.”
Sandoval and Moore quoted Bratton who said “corporate greed is to blame for not having the kill switch in the phones already in existence. Manufacturers came through when the city saw a wave of car robberies in the 1990s and Bratton would like to see them same happen with phones, he said.”
Think there’s any downside to smartphone manufacturers installing a kill switch? What are the advantages for the industry to do it without Federal intervention? Does a manufacturer’s business plan include sales gains for replacements as a result of theft? Has your phone been stolen?