Apple, Google, Microsoft and others join forces to improve smartphone anti-theft measures

By on April 16, 2014, 10:39 AM
google, apple, microsoft, htc, smartphone, eric schneiderman, anti-theft, mark leno

Many of the world's leading mobile phone companies have come together to sign a pledge promising to mitigate phone theft, according to recent reports. Some of the biggest players in the industry, including Apple, Google, HTC, Microsoft and many others are now pledging to make anti-theft features an industry standard by July 2015.

Similar to features like Find my iPhone and those offered from the Android Device Manager, many users already have the ability to deactivate and wipe their stolen device, but after the aforementioned date, the pledge should effectively make that a standard feature industry wide. Other companies signed on include Huawei, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung as well as five major US carriers.

Law enforcement has been vocal regarding introducing measures of this nature for everyone, especially after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman spearheaded talks for tighter mobile anti-theft measures last year. Schneiderman initiated discussions regarding stronger anti-theft measures with Apple, Google and others prompted by a rise in smartphone theft and the violence that can surround it.

Based on recent reports, many lawmakers are pleased with the proposal, but the contents of the pledge still aren't stringent enough for others like California State Senator Mark Leno, who backs the stronger "kill switch" system proposed earlier this year. “The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft,” Senator Leno said recently. “Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive...today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”

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