iPhone ‘Kill Switch’ Thwarting Robberies, Data Suggests
New crime data suggests that inclusion of a new "kill switch" feature in Apple iPhones has cut down on robberies and theft of the company's devices.
The data was taken from reports by state attorneys general, prosecutors, police, and other officials as part of an initiative called "Secure Our Smartphones," reports The Associated Press. The initiative, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, also announced in a press release that Microsoft and Google have committed to including a "kill switch" feature in the next versions of their own operating systems.
'Kill Switch' Crime-Reduction Data
According to the report, in New York City over the first five months of 2014, robberies involving Apple products fell by 19 percent and grand larcenies fell by 29 percent. During that same period, theft crimes involving Samsung smart phones, which didn't add a "kill switch" feature until April, actually rose 40 percent.
In San Francisco, thefts of iPhones were down almost 40 percent, while Samsung thefts were up by 12 percent.
Cell phone theft is a costly problem in the United States. The initiative's report cites a Consumer Reports estimate that 3.1 million smartphones were stolen in the United States in 2013.
'Kill Switch' Legislation
The new numbers come amid a push for legislation mandating smartphone "kill switches." Last month, Minnesota became the first state to pass a law requiring that smartphones have the ability to be remotely disabled. But in anticipation of widespread litigation, cell phone providers and manufacturers had already begun, ahead of the most recent announcement, voluntarily promising to implement "kill switch" capabilities into their devices.
As the "Secure Our Smartphones" release notes, with Google and Microsoft committing to join Apple in providing the kill switch feature into their Android and Windows Phone operating systems, 97 percent of U.S. smartphones should be protected by 2015.