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NYT article accuses Apple of not doing enough to prevent iPhone thefts

post #1 of 151
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Smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers could be doing a lot more to counteract iPhone and other mobile device thefts, security experts and industry observers say in a New York Times report that singles out Apple.

NYPD
NYPD sign up customers for antitheft measures at Apple's Fifth Ave store. Photo via Gothamist.


As iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices increase in popularity, so too is the crime rate involving such devices on the rise. In San Francisco, where a stolen iPhone 5 can sell for as much as $500, nearly half of all robberies last year involved a cellphone, according to The New York Times, which profiled the trends Thursday in an article with a headline that accused the mobile industry of looking "the other way."

Late last year, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed to iPhone thefts as the single driver of an overall crime increase in the city. Without Apple product thefts, crime would have been down overall for 2012.

With phone theft increasingly common, some police representatives and security experts are calling on the nation's wireless carriers and smartphone manufacturers to implement measures that will make it harder for thieves to profit from their crimes.

"Unlike other types of crimes, this is a crime that could easily be fixed with a technological solution," George Gasc?n, San Francisco's district attorney, told the Times. Gasc?n said manufacturers like Apple should be exploring technologies that would help fight cellphone theft. He has met with Apple before to discuss antitheft technology, but received no indication from Apple that it was interested in boosting such efforts.

Currently, a number of antitheft technologies exist, allowing mobile device owners to track stolen smartphones and tablets. Early last year, AT&T rolled out a new system that blocked stolen iPhones from network access. Also, Apple's Find My Phone feature uses iCloud to track stolen iOS devices, which has resulted in some notable busts.

Those efforts, though, are incomplete, critics say. Thieves are able to hack phones' International Mobile Station Equipment Identities in order to erase all data on the phone, rendering it unidentifiable to databases that track stolen phones. Some commentators believe cellphone makers should devise their devices to become inoperable should such a reset occur. Privacy advocates, though, say that consumers should be able to reset their devices as they wish if they want to avoid tracking.

Apple has been working with police recently to track down mobile device thieves, using the devices IMEI numbers to track their current locations and informing police where they should go.
post #2 of 151
Honda not doing enough to prevent auto thefts.

So what? Suddenly it's Apple's problem that people don't take a moment to think twice before flashing a pricey product in public and getting it stolen?

Guess the NYT needed to get the click-quota and decided an Apple article would be the way to go.
post #3 of 151
too much risk of fraud that would result in a huge expense of people having to listen to sob stories and make a decision and others crying to blogs about how apple screwed them
post #4 of 151
A stolen iPhone goes for $500? How much for a stolen Galaxy S3?
post #5 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Honda not doing enough to prevent auto thefts.

So what? Suddenly it's Apple's problem that people don't take a moment to think twice before flashing a pricey product in public and getting it stolen?

Guess the NYT needed to get the click-quota and decided an Apple article would be the way to go.

What the hell are you talking about?

 

People can show what they want, it's not their fault. Those f*cking animals that rube people are the ones with 100% fault. All of them should be murdered. End.

post #6 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Honda not doing enough to prevent auto thefts.

So what? Suddenly it's Apple's problem that people don't take a moment to think twice before flashing a pricey product in public and getting it stolen?

Guess the NYT needed to get the click-quota and decided an Apple article would be the way to go.

Car companies are doing a lot. Educate yourself. (Also, read the NYT article). Moreover, taking out an iPhone to make a call or watch a video or listen to a song or surf the web is not "flashing a pricey product in public." Do you use yours only in private?

 

Apple has dropped the ball on this. That is simply a fact. Don't get so defensive.

post #7 of 151
I disagree with this assumption, just because someone makes a profit that they have to take all of this into consideration.

Just yesterday I was flying a kite, and it got stuck in a tree. Where are the articles that the kite folks should be doing something about this, they make a profit also.
post #8 of 151

Most thefts = Lack Personal Responsibility

 

Flame On

Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away. - GC
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Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away. - GC
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post #9 of 151

I think every iPhone should come with a personal body guard... /sarcasm

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Mac Mini (Mid 2011) 2.5 GHz Core i5

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post #10 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Car companies are doing a lot. Educate yourself. (Also, read the NYT article). Moreover, taking out an iPhone to make a call or watch a video or listen to a song or surf the web is not "flashing a pricey product in public." Do you use yours only in private?

 

Apple has dropped the ball on this. That is simply a fact. Don't get so defensive.

 

So what could they be doing better?

Mac Mini (Mid 2011) 2.5 GHz Core i5

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Mac Mini (Mid 2011) 2.5 GHz Core i5

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post #11 of 151

There you go, let's blame Apple.  Ugh.  1bugeye.gif

post #12 of 151
What is up with NYT and Apple? Have they looked into Samsung's factories, their tax practices, their anti theft features?
post #13 of 151
Apple has been a leader in lost/stolen-phone tracking for years. They make it quite easy. Could they do more as well? Sure. Single them out? Well, yes, for NYT ad-views 1smile.gif

Now, the carriers need to be able to permanently disable phones. That's a decade overdue. It's OK to have a way to get around tracking, but there shouldn't be away to get around disabling unless you have proof of payment/ownership. (Which would then be an important part of buying a used phone--assurance that it's not stolen. Maybe the original purchaser has to notify the carrier of the new owner.) And of course the carriers have to work together on this.

I doubt Apple would be the one blocking such an improvement.
post #14 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

What the hell are you talking about?

 

People can show what they want, it's not their fault. Those f*cking animals that rube people are the ones with 100% fault. All of them should be murdered. End.

Jeez... anger issues dude?

post #15 of 151

If the phone companies and carriers could work together, more could be done, but it's not like Apple has done nothing. I think Find My iPhone is pretty amazing, and if they incorporate fingerprint recognition that will be great too. I expect this to be one area in which they continue to innovate.

 

I don't think the New York Times is really doing enough to prevent iPhone thefts, either. They could add an area to their website where people could register their cellphones, and carriers could access that DB when they get a request for a device activation. I guess they don't see that as their responsibility (or a viable revenue source) any more than anybody else does.

post #16 of 151
Originally Posted by jakeb View Post
What is up with NYT and Apple? Have they looked into Samsung's factories, their tax practices, their anti theft features?

 

NYT: Yep.

 

"… and?"

NYT: Oh, sorry, I couldn't hear you. I was busy flipping through these stacks of money we recently received.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #17 of 151
Quote:
Without Apple product thefts, crime would have been down overall for 2012.

 

Wrong. If all Apple products would cease to exist tomorrow, career criminals wouldn't throw in the towel. They'd find something else.

post #18 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Car companies are doing a lot. Educate yourself. (Also, read the NYT article). Moreover, taking out an iPhone to make a call or watch a video or listen to a song or surf the web is not "flashing a pricey product in public." Do you use yours only in private?

 

Apple has dropped the ball on this. That is simply a fact. Don't get so defensive.


"Apple has dropped the ball on this"

 

What rubbish. It's called personal responsibility. I suppose that ALL manufacturers need to step up and prevent thefts... watches, jewellery, TVs, cars.. /s  Carriers and telcos could prevent activation of stolen phones by registering all IMEI numbers and blocking ones reported stolen or hacked numbers. But they don't - you figure out why.

 

As far as Apple dropping the ball, stop trolling and go back to your Samsung shift.

 

 

post #19 of 151
Apple has done their part to prevent thefts. It's the consumers that need to do their part.

However, I wished there was a way not to allow a thief to turn off the iDevice by holding the sleep button.
post #20 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Car companies are doing a lot. Educate yourself. (Also, read the NYT article). Moreover, taking out an iPhone to make a call or watch a video or listen to a song or surf the web is not "flashing a pricey product in public." Do you use yours only in private?

 

Apple has dropped the ball on this. That is simply a fact. Don't get so defensive.


But has Apple dropped the ball harder than Google, Samsung or Nokia? The article mentions Apple a few times, Google once but nary a word about Samsung.

post #21 of 151
Originally Posted by DGNR8 View Post
Most thefts = Lack Personal Responsibility

 

Flame On

 

Why? It couldn't be more correct.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #22 of 151
the world problems are Apples fault
post #23 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

NYT: Yep.

 

"… and?"

NYT: Oh, sorry, I couldn't hear you. I was busy flipping through these stacks of money we recently received.

Citation?

 

Nah, don't bother. Don't need one to know it's false.

post #24 of 151
1) Isn't the iPhone the only device that links up with a free account that includes Find My iPhone?

2) Settings really need an option for locking it down so one can't easily put it in Airplane Mode or turn off Find My iPhone if your device is currently unlocked when a snatcher gets ahold of it.

3) As I've stated before, I'd like the iPhone to require a passcode to turn off. If you use the Sleep and Home buttons to kill power it will do a reboot instead. This isn't a real deterant any premeditated theft could easily put the device in a bag/container that blocks GPS signals, but it may make the opportunistic thief think twice and/or make it easier to track once stolen.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #25 of 151

I think it's a bit more complicated than people want it to be. Even the article printed here stated (in regard to the IMEI tracking) "Privacy advocates, though, say that consumers should be able to reset their devices as they wish if they want to avoid tracking."  This is just a small tip of the proverbial iceberg. The analysis the consumer has to make includes these privacy issues, plus the possibility of allowing a hacker (or other entity) to "brick" their device, and an assortment of other issues that even I haven't fully imagined. 

 

That the NY Times is bringing the problem of phone theft to the forefront, though, is a good thing, because it will stimulate discussion and consideration of these issues and concerns. Perhaps there is a solution to theft, or perhaps there are ways the consumer can mitigate their losses in the event of the inevitable theft.  Raising awareness is a first step. 

post #26 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeeJay2012 View Post


"Apple has dropped the ball on this"

 

What rubbish. It's called personal responsibility. I suppose that ALL manufacturers need to step up and prevent thefts... watches, jewellery, TVs, cars.. /s  Carriers and telcos could prevent activation of stolen phones by registering all IMEI numbers and blocking ones reported stolen or hacked numbers. But they don't - you figure out why.

 

As far as Apple dropping the ball, stop trolling and go back to your Samsung shift.

 

 

Although I disagree with the notion of Apple dropping the ball, it is impossible to deny that all phone makers can do more. There are indeed technological solutions, but the incentive to implement them is not strong. That is, or should be the main point of the article.

post #27 of 151

I don't think Apple is doing enough to prevent homicide either.

post #28 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

But has Apple dropped the ball harder than Google, Samsung or Nokia? 

I could care less about the others, since that is a low bar to set.

post #29 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by DGNR8 View Post

Most thefts = Lack Personal Responsibility

 

Flame On

The stupidity is strong in this one...

post #30 of 151
Nice to know with almost 600 people dead or missing in that garment factory building collapse in Bangadash that the NYTimes is working so hard to make the world a safer place for iPhones. I would have gladly overlooked their harassment of Apple had they worked just as hard to expose the hardships and dangerous working conditions suffered by garment works in Bamgladash and elsewhere. But nope, harassing Apple gets more attention and increases their readership more. Sorry rant over...
post #31 of 151
Consider all of this when google releases $1500 google glass and thieves start ripping these devices off of people's faces. Just saying.
post #32 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

So what could they be doing better?

I am not a techie, so I have no clue. But there has to be something better than "all hope is lost if the thieves erase the IMEI."

 

For example, is GPS tracking an option (assuming that the loss is reported to the police).

post #33 of 151

In comparison, what are other mobile device manufacturers doing to prevent this that Apple is not?

post #34 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Why? It couldn't be more correct.

Another one...

 

Lack of responsibility? So I can't check an SMS because some bastard might be watching? Hey, don't be a retard. The only one that is guilty is ALWAYS the guy that choses to become trash and steals something.

post #35 of 151
Why is everyone complaining? Apple is providing earning opportunities to a critically underemployed sector, thieves. It's the same as when Microsoft forced Windows 3/95/98/ME on us all along with those junky clunky computers in the distant past. They helped bootstrap geeks into success and kept them from becoming homeless or worse. But what could be worse than staying home with mom?

I was always amazed how there were more techs than sales people in a PC store. And usually they were fat, stinky and obnoxious.
post #36 of 151
I had an expensive iPod stolen a few years - back then there was truly nothing I could do about it. I reported it stolen to the police and they said there just wasn't enough info for there to be a reasonable chance of recovering it. I would loved to had "Find My Phone" back then - I could have given GPS coordinates of the device, photos of the thief using it, and everything else Find My Phone does - enough info for police to act on.

Apple already does so much to prevent iPhone theft! Maybe they can do some things incrementally better, but I don't know how they could make big improvements without creating usability or privacy issues.
post #37 of 151
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post
Nah, don't bother. Don't need one to know it's false.

 

Ah, that Samsung pays people off to keep quiet or that Samsung has paid the NYT?

 

Because I'm 100% certain you can't prove either of those false, and we know the former is true.


Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post
Lack of responsibility? So I can't check an SMS because some bastard might be watching?

 

Interesting how you jump to claiming it's the VICTIM'S fault, particularly when I said absolutely nothing of the sort.

 

Perhaps take your own advice.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #38 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

 

Apple has dropped the ball on this. That is simply a fact. 

 

Huh?  Did you miss this in the article?

"Currently, a number of antitheft technologies exist, allowing mobile device owners to track stolen smartphones and tablets. Early last year, AT&T rolled out a new system that blocked stolen iPhones from network access. Also, Apple's Find My Phone feature uses iCloud to track stolen iOS devices, which has resulted in some notable busts."

 

Tell me which smartphone does more?

 

Sure the article mentions ISM hacks but let's be honest, the average smartphone thief is looking to make a quick buck to support their drug habit so it's highly unlikely they would know how, or care to spend the time to perform such hacks.  Blocking stolen phones from connecting to the networks (as has been universally done in Canada), combined with people not being complete effing idiots and realizing that if the dude on the corner is selling them an iPhone for a "too good to be true" price because IT IS, will likely cease thefts altogether.

post #39 of 151

I agree with the article. One of the things that disappointed me when I got my iPhone was that it doesn't have a ROM-encoded serial number (I mean non-writable non-erasable ROM, unlike NVRAM which can be rewritten). A solution like that would turn iPhones very hard to steal... criminals would need to disassemble the unit, and replace the ROM chip. Hard to do. This would certainly stop teenagers-friends thefts.

 

If it had that ROM serial number, you simply call Apple "hey, my iPhone was stolen", then Apple blacklists your serial number, and no phone operator would allow such unit anymore. Case closed. Just make the ROM chip very hard to replace (so that you easily break the iPhone if you want to remove it), and nobody will care to steal iPhones anymore.

post #40 of 151
How ungrateful.

One week an find my iPhone helps capture a Boston Terrorist, the next week the journos have forgotten!
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