The plans for additional security measures come on the heels of new data in
Comparing data in the six months before and after Apple released its anti-theft feature, police said iPhone robberies in
Samsung introduced a kill switch for its Galaxy S5 device in April, so it will be some time until its effect on theft rates can be evaluated.
A kill switch is software that lets consumers lock down a phone after the device has been reported stolen; users can reactivate the phone only with the correct password or personal identification number. That makes it difficult to sell on the black market.
"The introduction of kill switches has clearly had an effect on the conduct of smartphone thieves," said
Over the last year, lawmakers across the country have pushed for stronger anti-theft features on smartphones. In May,
Earlier this year, more than a dozen companies, including Apple, AT&T,
Other factors could have contributed to the decrease in iPhone thefts. Police and tech companies have tried harder during the last year to educate consumers on additional security measures to protect phones, like setting up passcodes, which can make it harder to gain access to devices so that they can be erased and resold.
In a statement, Apple said that its kill switch software, Activation Lock, was aimed at preventing unauthorized access to users' iPhones and iPads. Apple also said that Find My iPhone, a software feature for tracking lost or stolen Apple devices, has been available since 2009.
"Apple has led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices," said
Samsung said in a statement that it would continue to work closely with the carriers, Schneiderman in
The CTIA, a trade organization for the wireless industry, had been resistant to calls for legally requiring kill switches. But
For example, it created a website, beforeyouloseit.org, that has information about anti-theft apps people can install. "We remain committed to helping law enforcement and consumers deter smartphone thefts," Hastings said.
GascÓn has been one of the most vocal supporters of a kill switch. He and Schneiderman collaborated to form the Secure Our Smartphones initiative to press businesses to create a technical way to dissuade thieves from stealing phones.
GascÓn said plenty of work remained. He said he hoped all manufacturers would include a kill switch turned on by default on all smartphones so consumers did not have to figure out how to use it. In the iPhone, for example, it is not turned on by default.
"Many consumers might not be tech-savvy enough to do this," GascÓn said. He added that he still thought it was necessary for there to be laws requiring kill switches in phones, similar to how seatbelts eventually became legally required inside cars.
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