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Prosecutors React to Rise in Violent Theft of Smart Phones, Put Stop to “Apple-Picking”

Criminals have an economic incentive to steal your smartphone.  Several websites offer to pay top dollar for your old mobile devices and some kiosks allow you to deposit mobile devices anonymously into a repository for an immediate cash reward.  Violent criminals have caught on to a money-making scheme, so, it should come as no surprise that the number of violent smartphone thefts are reported to be on the rise all across the United States.

“The epidemic of violent street crime involving the theft and resale of mobile devices is a very real and growing threat in communities all across America,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a public statement released on June 13, 2013. “According to reports, roughly 113 smartphones are stolen or lost each minute in the United States, with too many of those thefts turning violent.”

In response to this threat, prosecutors in New York have launched the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S.) Initiative, a coalition that has come together to encourage major smartphone providers to install kill switches or equally effective deterrent technology to disable stolen smart phones permanently — eliminating the economic incentive to steal mobile devices.

Representatives from Apple, Google/Motorola, Samsung and Microsoft participated in a Smart Phone Summit convened at Attorney General Schneiderman’s office in New York. Apple iPhone users in particular have been attacked for their devices in a trend that has been dubbed Apple-Picking.  According to CNS News, Apple developers are likely to release a kill switch feature as part of its iOS7 software in the fall.

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