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New York authorities ask Apple, Google to help stop smartphone thefts

post #1 of 85
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The Attorney General for the state of New York has asked Apple and other tech leaders to do more to stop smartphone thieves and, further, aid in the elimination of a growing black market for the stolen devices.

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NYPD sign up customers for phone protection at Apple's Fifth Ave store. | Source: The Gothamist


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung last week asking that the companies develop technologies to do their part to curb smartphone theft, according to Bloomberg. Schneiderman's letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook called the company to task on not implementing tech to cut down on theft.

?I seek to understand," Schneiderman wrote, "why companies that can develop sophisticated handheld electronics, such as the products manufactured by Apple, cannot also create technology to render stolen devices inoperable and thereby eliminate the expanding black market on which they are sold.?

Schneiderman's letters came just days after a piece in The New York Times called out Apple and other manufacturers, saying that the telecoms companies essentially profited off smartphone theft. In that piece, San Francisco district attorney George Gasc?n said he had met with Apple to discuss antitheft technology, but that Apple had given no indication that they were interested in implementing such technology.

Currently, a number of antitheft technologies are already built into many smartphones. Users can track stolen iOS devices with Apple's iCloud-based "Find My iPhone" service, while AT&T offers a system that blocks stolen iPhones from accessing its network.

Critics say those efforts don't deter thieves who will typically hack a device to erase all of its data and render it essentially brand new. Schneiderman addressed the issue in his letter to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

?Foreign trafficking of stolen devices has proliferated," he wrote, "and an abundance of domestic black market resellers, including right here in New York, means as a practical matter that phones do not, contrary to your website?s assertion, become unusable.?

Last year it was reported that thefts of Apple devices alone caused a 14 percent jump in crime in New York city.
post #2 of 85

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, it's called "Find My iPhone"... Ever heard of it?

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post #3 of 85
I do like that he asked.
post #4 of 85

Dear New York,

 

Do your own job, idiots.

 

-Tim Cook

 

Sent from my iPad

post #5 of 85
Apple to NY, "Sure... We'll include a semi-automatic firearm with every iPhone purchase and raise the price to $$$$. We'll call it "The more Bang for your Buck!" promotion.

You mean there isn't a NY law that says it is illegal to steal? And if they do have such a law, and someone violates said law, isn't it up to law enforcement to find and prosecute said violator? Isn't preserving the peace the job of peace officers and not Apple?! Has our government on all levels seem to have dumbed down in recent years...
/
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post #6 of 85
Words to Mayor: Cut down all the wireless tower, force everybody use land line, problem solved!
post #7 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Apple to NY, "Sure... We'll include a semi-automatic firearm with every iPhone purchase and raise the price to $$$$. We'll call it "The more Bang for your Buck!" promotion.

You mean there isn't a NY law that says it is illegal to steal? And if they do have such a law, and someone violates said law, isn't it up to law enforcement to find and prosecute said violator? Isn't preserving the peace the job of peace officers and not Apple?! Has our government on all levels seem to have dumbed down in recent years...
/
/

 

Gun regulations that have harmed the legal protection of property and persons by the citizens of New York have allowed the criminal underclass to grow as fast as the NY rat and cockroach population.


Edited by SpamSandwich - 5/13/13 at 1:49pm

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post #8 of 85
What an idiot.

The iPhone probably does more to deter theft than any other electronics product in history, but still this guy is "confused" as to why Apple doesn't implement some magical technology to stop thefts?

Before the iPhone there was nothing. Nothing.

Now he's complaining and blaming Apple?
post #9 of 85

Make it illegal to sell iPhones in NY city and confiscate all iPhones at the city limits from those wishing to enter. Then outlaw jewelry, expensive cars, and all popular electronics. That ought to drop thefts to a trickle.

post #10 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

...

 

Apropos of nothing, I just saw the "banned" list in your sig. I LOL'ed. Especially because of the inclusion of TEKSTUD and DaHarder. :D

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post #11 of 85

What other product has this responsibility? Do cars become unusable when stolen? They have been around for much longer. Does the average consumer want privacy or do they want the phone tracked out of the whaazoo so they can catch the black market.

 

How about instead of rousting every man of color wearing a hoodie and having them turn there pockets inside out (illegal search) and arresting them for a joint, they spend there money stopping these criminals. They phone thief is much more likely to be violent then the mani walking home from the store with milk.

 

Why is this the manufacturers problem when it is obviously the people in New York that are the thieves. I dare say my phone has much more security than damn near anything else I own. It came that way from Apple.

post #12 of 85

NY's Attorney General is an idiot. Seriously, what can Apple do to stop a thief from stealing a phone? Absolutely nothing. A criminal is going to commit crimes with no regard to the law. Besides Find My Phone, you can setup password protected restrictions so location services can't be disabled and you can hide the icon that shows your phone is being tracked. 

post #13 of 85
I think most of you are missing the point how hard would it be to be able to remotely inactivate your iPhone if someone stole it so it couldn't be used by anyone? Pretty easy I would think. My friend was brutally attacked when she tried to hang onto to her iPhone. I don't think that blazen beating would have happened if iPhones couldn't be resold. Keep in mind the cell companies don't want this either because they will lose business to all those stolen phones that are getting activated by thieves. In addition, if you're a stock holder in apple & 100,000 phones are stolen a year, that's 100,000 less phones apple can sell. & profit from. I understand where those of you that object are coming from, but if you were stomped on the head repeated for your phone wouldn't you wish it might have been stopped?
post #14 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Gun regulations that have harmed the legal protection of property and persons by the citizens of New York have allowed the criminal underclass to grow as fast as the NY rat and cockroach population.

Did you write that in the 70s? NYC is one of the safest cities in the US.
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post #15 of 85

New York can be a rough neighborhood. iPhone users should be smart enough to not put their valuables on display while in the transit system. If you have to travel in those areas, perhaps you should get a small inexpensive iPod for listening to music. Keep the iPod in plain view and keep the iPhone, iPad out of sight.

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post #16 of 85

I think everyone has covered it already. Well done! 

post #17 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by skleiniv View Post

I think most of you are missing the point how hard would it be to be able to remotely inactivate your iPhone if someone stole it so it couldn't be used by anyone? Pretty easy I would think. My friend was brutally attacked when she tried to hang onto to her iPhone. I don't think that blazen beating would have happened if iPhones couldn't be resold. Keep in mind the cell companies don't want this either because they will lose business to all those stolen phones that are getting activated by thieves. In addition, if you're a stock holder in apple & 100,000 phones are stolen a year, that's 100,000 less phones apple can sell. & profit from. I understand where those of you that object are coming from, but if you were stomped on the head repeated for your phone wouldn't you wish it might have been stopped?

Maybe the brazen beating wouldn't have happened had she not resisted. You're math is off, 100,000 stolen cell phones lead to another 100,000 that wouldn't have been sold because the first 100,000 need replacing, and that's 100,000 extra iPhones on Apple's ecosystem.
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post #18 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

Apropos of nothing, I just saw the "banned" list in your sig. I LOL'ed. Especially because of the inclusion of TEKSTUD and DaHarder. :D

 

Well I've long since stopped caring who is who or wasting my time tracking them.  I guess you are implying that you think DaHarder and TECKSTUD are the same person? Or that you are the same person?  It doesn't really matter either way.  

 

The list is the list.  If someone acts like a complete asshole (IMO of course), or is someone who isn't interested in a civilised argument or debate, they go on the list.  I don't clean off the list or try to figure out if there are doubles.  The list is actually too long to fit in my sig, so there are more people in it than are visible.  

 

The only reason I put it in my sig is that the previous anti-religion message got me a lot of flak and there was a short period where so many meanies joined the forum ("Flaneur" etc.), that I was updating it every day.  I've no doubt that most of them are not even here anymore since trolls generally don't last.  

 

Interestingly, there is no one on my list that hasn't at some point or other revealed themselves to be male.   1smile.gif

post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, it's called "Find My iPhone"... Ever heard of it?

 

99% of thieves are smart enough to turn the phone off as soon as they steal it. Then all they need to do is perform a reset and they've got a fresh iPhone for sale. 

 

Has Apple made strides towards hindering thieves? Yes. Could they do more? Yes.

 

Apple might want to consider a system where it's impossible to turn a phone off without entering a passcode (difficult as the power switch interacts with the software at a very low level but probably not beyond Apple) or forcing the user to enter a passcode when they flash/wipe a device in iTunes. These are two ideas just off the top of my head; I'm sure there's even better ways to stop thieves.

 

Most police forces could do more too though.

post #20 of 85

Maybe if the idiot midget of a mayor wasn't busy banning sodas, banning stores from displaying cigarettes, trying to ban guns everywhere, and infringing upon the rights and freedoms of all citizens, NYC would have a bit more time to spend on theft, and catching real criminals, which has been rising and growing out of control.

 

The best and easiest way to protect against smartphone theft in NYC is to be aware of your surroundings and don't pull out your phone when surrounded by low class and suspicious looking individuals. You might as well pull out a big stack of hundred dollar bills and flash them around. I've never had anything stolen from me in NYC yet, and I've taken the subways at all hours of the day and night, because I know how to spot lowlifes from a mile away.

post #21 of 85
1) Make the crime more severe, akin to grand theft auto. Have variations of the theft classified, like stealing a car if the keys are left in it on a street at night is less severe than snatching a phone out of someone's hand on a subway. Make the later crime more inline with a physical assault to retrieve the device. If a bag or pocket has to be accessed in any way to grab the phone (as opposed to someone simply left it on a table or chair) make that more inline with breaking and entering, which includes the bag in question being stolen.

2) I've said this many times but I'll say it again, Apple should make any hard power cycle force a restart (not simply turning off the device) and require a PIN to do a soft shutdown. This wouldn't prevent someone who planned ahead from using a container of some sort that can block radio waves but it may prevent and catch the more opportunistic crimes. Also, add a PIN code option to Settings since a phone that is obtained within x-duration can was have the perp go into Setting to enable Airplane Mode.

3) Why doesn't Android have a similar feature to Find My iPhone? Why is it still called Find My iPhone?

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post #22 of 85
W
Edited by Dadoria2 - 5/13/13 at 2:48pm
post #23 of 85
Hrmm, lots of reactions - not much intelligence.

Look - Police & other departments are limited in resources, the huge spate of smartphone theft is fairly recent and is taking an undue toll on those limited resources. To ask the tech companies (it's not only Apple) who make these products to implement *better* measures is not unreasonable.

[edit: thankfully as I was signing up & writing this post, some good points were finally made]
Edited by kalculator - 5/13/13 at 2:46pm
post #24 of 85
There is a way to disable the power button. I've been using icaughtu pro on my jailbroken iPhone since forever. Basically if you try to power off the phone it takes your picture and send it, along with your current location to my email address and any cell phone number I designate. It does this if you try any action on the phone without entering the password. Maybe apple could have something similar. You could also reassign buttons using "activator", so that powering off your device requires a combination of button presses. Same goes for resetting the phone. This will give you time to track it and in my case go get it, or for some people, tell law enforcement. There are many good reasons to jailbreak and that's one of them. I've since moved on to the galaxy s3 for my phone and now use "Androidlost" to manage my phone (it's free in Google play), I can even send commands to the phone via text. I think apple needs to loosen up a bit, and this is coming from a die hard apple fan. I still have all apple stuff for my other electronic needs
post #25 of 85
We need a National iPhone Registry. "ATFi - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobaco, Firearms and iPhones" anyone?

When a true world iPhone is reality, we'll need the UN and/or Interpol engaged.


In all seriousness, I hope law enforcement does not prioritize phone thefts up. I also don't want Apple bearing the verification costs cause that'll just get passed down to me. How much of a problem is smartphone theft? How many thefts per million?
post #26 of 85
I suggest they turn Manhattan Island into a maximum security area, build a wall around the entire thing and have it patrolled by armed guards, gunboats, helicopters.

If somebody loses an iPhone, then send in Snake Plissken to retrieve it.

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post #27 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

 Why is it still called Find My iPhone?

What would you call it?

 

I tried to use Find my iPhone the other day and it couldn't find it. I tried to call the number but the ringer was turned off. Losing your iPhone can be nerve wracking even if you are pretty sure you misplaced it inside the house. I finally found it under the bed quilt, but only after looking for it for about an hour. I'm not sure why iCloud couldn't find it.

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post #28 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

What would you call it?

 

Find my iOS device?

 

It's pretty dumb to have to use an app called "Find iPhone" to find your iPad or iPod.

post #29 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Find my iOS device?

It's pretty dumb to have to use an app called "Find iPhone" to find your iPad or iPod.

Don't forget your Macs.

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post #30 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

I suggest they turn Manhattan Island into a maximum security area, build a wall around the entire thing and have it patrolled by armed guards, gunboats, helicopters.

 

There's no wall yet, but everything else you describe is already in place.

post #31 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by skleiniv View Post

I think most of you are missing the point how hard would it be to be able to remotely inactivate your iPhone if someone stole it so it couldn't be used by anyone? Pretty easy I would think. My friend was brutally attacked when she tried to hang onto to her iPhone. I don't think that blazen beating would have happened if iPhones couldn't be resold. Keep in mind the cell companies don't want this either because they will lose business to all those stolen phones that are getting activated by thieves. In addition, if you're a stock holder in apple & 100,000 phones are stolen a year, that's 100,000 less phones apple can sell. & profit from. I understand where those of you that object are coming from, but if you were stomped on the head repeated for your phone wouldn't you wish it might have been stopped?

That somewhat depends on where the 100,000 stolen ones are sold: since they have to be (anyway will be) replaced by the victims buying new ones Apple does appear to profit in selling vicitms new phones. Granted the fenced ones are not Apple profit, but would those be potential Apple sales in any case?

 

As a further thought: Any really robust inactivation system get's hacked and turns off a few tens of millions of phones and won't that be fun?

 

I do think powering off requiring the phone be unlocked would be a useful thing: keep the phone trackable during those first critical hours. Poeple who don't enable password unocking have taken their chances for the seeming convenience. But a password for those who want the phone to stay on until it can be tracked would be nice.

 

For NYC the only thing that would probably work would be like those monster bicycle locks and chains they market for the city.... Maybe Kryptonite Locks can come up with a good "NYC iPhone Case"? Probably weight fifty pounds but hey: secure as all get out!

 

Need to carry it out of the house? I know a guy....1smoking.gif

post #32 of 85
It just wouldn't feel like New York City without all the crime.

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post #33 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Don't forget your Macs.

I apparently did forget about that. 1smile.gif

 

Does that only apply to Macs on Lion or higher?

post #34 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

It just wouldn't feel like New York City without all the crime.

iPhone theft might be on the rise, due to the awesomeness of Apple devices, but crime is actually not that bad in NYC. It was far worse when I took a trip to a few places in Europe a while ago. That's one place where I definitely would like to be packing heat.

post #35 of 85

(oops sorry for double-post)

post #36 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

I suggest they turn Manhattan Island into a maximum security area, build a wall around the entire thing and have it patrolled by armed guards, gunboats, helicopters.

If somebody loses an iPhone, then send in Snake Plissken to retrieve it.

Arrgh!  Now I've got the Escape From New York theme stuck in my head !

post #37 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

What would you call it?

 

Find my iOS device?

 

It's pretty dumb to have to use an app called "Find iPhone" to find your iPad or iPod.

I'm not sure what the technology needed to locate the device is but if it uses GPS and cellular signal in part, then it could be confusing to some people who have a non-cellular iPad and can't figure out why it doesn't work. People who choose the cellular version are probably a bit savvier about how the system works, although both my iPads have cellular and I haven't a clue how Find my iPhone actually works. In other words I haven't bothered to look it up. All I know is it didn't work the one time I needed it.

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post #38 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

There's no wall yet, but everything else you describe is already in place.

Even Snake Plissken on standby?

My family lived in New York for three years. The first night we arrived, we got mugged.

It was awesome!

We could have used Snake then but, in his defence, we'd heard that he was dead.

I miss The City That Never Sleeps.
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post #39 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I'm not sure what the technology needed to locate the device is but if it uses GPS and cellular signal in part, then it could be confusing to some people who have a non-cellular iPad and can't figure out why it doesn't work. People who choose the cellular version are probably a bit savvier about how the system works, although both my iPads have cellular and I haven't a clue how Find my iPhone actually works. In other words I haven't bothered to look it up. All I know is it didn't work the one time I needed it.

I've only owned Wifi iPads, and though I've luckily never had a reason to use the "Find iPhone" app, it did work on the few occasions when I tested it.

 

Even if a Wifi only iPad were to be stolen, the "Find iPhone" app could be used, because the thief will eventually connect to a Wifi network. And even though the Wifi only iPad lacks GPS, Wifi localization seems to be pretty accurate, because when I tested it, it located the exact location of the iPad, down to the exact building that it was in.

post #40 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Losing your iPhone can be nerve wracking even if you are pretty sure you misplaced it inside the house. I finally found it under the bed quilt, but only after looking for it for about an hour.

Hope you don't suffer any Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

1wink.gif
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