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  • Is Apple Doing Enough to Curb iPhone Theft?


    The New York Times is raising a bold question for Apple to consider today: is the Cupertino, California tech giant really doing enough to curb iPhone-related thefts?

    Although some would defend Apple by suggesting that it's the company's job to make cool devices, not police their possession, the NYT contends that Apple - and other smartphone makers - could be doing more to reduce smartphone theft.

    Some law enforcement authorities, though, say there is a bigger issue — that carriers and handset makers have little incentive to fix the problem [rampant smartphone theft].
    “The carriers are not innocent in this whole game. They are making profit off this,” says Cathy L. Lanier, chief of the police department of the District of Columbia. “If you look at auto theft, it has really plummeted in this country because technology has advanced so much and the manufacturers recognize the importance of it,” adds Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. “The cellphone industry has for the most part been in denial. For whatever reasons, it has been slow to move.”

    With the rate of cellphone theft exploding across the nation, pressure is quickly mounting on devices makers, carriers, lawmakers, and law enforcement to do something more... although it isn't exactly clear what that "something" is just yet.

    To read the comprehensive new report in full, click here.

    Source: New York Times
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Is Apple Doing Enough to Curb iPhone Theft? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. Villebilly's Avatar
      Villebilly -
      The only suggestion the cop makes is to add a "kill switch." As if there wouldn't be a work around.

      In forums like this many have commented why the police wouldn't do more to help someone recover their stolen phone once it has been located.
    1. jamesgunaca's Avatar
      jamesgunaca -
      This is nonsense. Not Apple's job, and shareholders wouldn't be pleased either. And Villebilly is right too - law enforcement doesn't give a **** about it otherwise they'd track down people with stolen equipment via apps like Find My iPhone / Find My Mac. I know some cops just don't even give a ****. They are too busy with real crimes (violent ones) or wasting their time with chasing after people who will bring more money to the site (speeders, DWI's, red light runners, smokers, etc.).
    1. Lohand's Avatar
      Lohand -
      Yea, its all fun and iPhone games until some low life puts a foot to your arse and jacks your precious little iBaby. And Why blame Carriers if a stolen phone has weak controls around the ability to change the IMEI so that all the new multimillion dollar carrier blocking platforms don't mean squat?

      Yes, some handset makers should do what can be done to help lessen the incentive (others already do a decent job). I just don't care to be lying on a subway platform face up with a black eye, knife wound and Adidas foot print on my chest simply because I was just trying to making a phone call.

      Oh, and forget the technical types that can actually change a stolen IMEI and just start by simply stopping any low life dirt bag crook from walking into the genius bar (under warranty) and swapping a stolen phone for a clean one. Sayin...
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Apple's already made an App to locate, lock, and erase you iPhone remotely; you can add your own password lock if you want with limited attempts. What more do the police want? A personal security guard with every iPhone purchase?? It comes down to the police not caring much about stolen iPhone's or any kind of smartphone, they think it's a waste of their time.
    1. Raptor2213's Avatar
      Raptor2213 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jamesgunaca View Post
      This is nonsense. Not Apple's job, and shareholders wouldn't be pleased either. And Villebilly is right too - law enforcement doesn't give a **** about it otherwise they'd track down people with stolen equipment via apps like Find My iPhone / Find My Mac. I know some cops just don't even give a ****. They are too busy with real crimes (violent ones) or wasting their time with chasing after people who will bring more money to the site (speeders, DWI's, red light runners, smokers, etc.).
      Seeing as how it's not Apple's job and "their part" is nil, then absolutely!
    1. GrumpySod's Avatar
      GrumpySod -
      Apple should make the iPhone easier to secure but beyond that people need to realise if you are going to Carry a high value item then it's possible it'll be a temptation for people!

      Quote Originally Posted by steve-z17 View Post
      Apple's already made an App to locate, lock, and erase you iPhone remotely; you can add your own password lock if you want with limited attempts. What more do the police want? A personal security guard with every iPhone purchase?? It comes down to the police not caring much about stolen iPhone's or any kind of smartphone, they think it's a waste of their time.
      Think one the phone is locked it should not be possible to simply hook it to a PCM and wipe it! At least with out a pass code
    1. i113's Avatar
      i113 -
      You guys are funny saying Apple shouldn't do anything. But what if somehow your device ends up stolen?

      The article points out that you (the victim) end up subsidizing the iPhone yourself, while the carrier gets paid for the new activation and Apple gets paid for any apps purchased on the stolen device. It's win win for both companies because they know you will purchase another phone and keep paying them anyways.

      Every receipt has the serial # on it. They could easily set up a database of blacklisted serial numbers for registered owners to make their stolen devices useless, but it won't happen.

      Silly me thought they already had that system. I bought an iPhone 4S 32gb on craigslist last summer for 200.00. I thought the price was too low, so I called AT&T before I paid the dude, to make sure it was clean. Customer service had no idea what I was talking about. I activated it and my daughter still loves her phone. Never had any problems.
    1. dsg's Avatar
      dsg -
      Apple should check the udid or serial(or both) and if it ends up with a new activaion or purchase it should be flagged as legit or on a stolen/lost iDevice database (for it to work though we'd have to report the devices stolen or lost)
    1. Sherm23's Avatar
      Sherm23 -
      I care and I am law enforcement. I have tracked down a total of four iPhones using find my iPhone. I have tracked down another three using the serial number which is tracked when the device is sold or pawned to a second hand store in my state. Those are low numbers for a jurisdiction of 300,000.

      The ones that I didnt find can be attributed to a few reasons with suggestions;

      1. The victim did not set up the phone for Find My iPhone. I am sure there are people reading MMI who are not set up as well. (boost awareness at the point of sale)

      1b. The victim did set up Find My iPhone but then forget their username and password. (set it up with something that you commonly use and log in on occasion to make sure it is still on since one of the iOs)

      2. The phone was powered off immediately upon being stolen. (Apple please take a hint from the jailbreak app iCaughtU Pro and prevent a person from unlocking the phone without the passcode. That app even further sends a sms,email,or carrier pigeon when a wrong passcode is entered x amout of times, with a picture!!.)

      3. The victim waited an incredibley long amount of time to report the stolen phone. (Find an Officer and tell him, then show him where your phone is on find my iPhone and request he go get it.)


      Now I cant speak for all states, but in mine the state goverment gets fines from court cases (speeding and DWI's were your examples jamesguanaca). Point there is that no local Officer around here is doing it for money that they wont see. Even further I would say it is usually a specific unit (traffic) or a special assignment that gets special traffic enforcement attention.

      Officers dont have all of the resources that you see on TV. Please keep that in mind.

      Please dont bash on Officers in general just because you had a bad experience.

      Good luck out there.
    1. AUZambo's Avatar
      AUZambo -
      How in the world is this Apple's responsibility?
    1. Channan's Avatar
      Channan -
      Quote Originally Posted by steve-z17 View Post
      Apple's already made an App to locate, lock, and erase you iPhone remotely; you can add your own password lock if you want with limited attempts. What more do the police want? A personal security guard with every iPhone purchase?? It comes down to the police not caring much about stolen iPhone's or any kind of smartphone, they think it's a waste of their time.
      That only protects your data. The person who stole your phone doesn't care if you do that. They can restore it. All they want is the phone.

      There should be a way to permanently disable the phone so that even a restore can't fix it. If you can't use your phone, no one should be able to.
    1. tridley68's Avatar
      tridley68 -
      Quote Originally Posted by AUZambo View Post
      How in the world is this Apple's responsibility?
      you are 100% correct this is not Apples problem that people can not take care of their things !
    1. teej1410's Avatar
      teej1410 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tridley68 View Post
      you are 100% correct this is not Apples problem that people can not take care of their things !
      I do agree. I once it's stolen, it's stolen. There are apps that Apple has like Find my iPhone to help find it and even cydia has a tweak to what I think might be called iGotYa. It's not Apple's problem that YOUR phone got stolen. It's the user's responsibility.
    1. dsg's Avatar
      dsg -
      agreed but if Appl£ can help they should
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Channan View Post
      That only protects your data. The person who stole your phone doesn't care if you do that. They can restore it. All they want is the phone.

      There should be a way to permanently disable the phone so that even a restore can't fix it. If you can't use your phone, no one should be able to.
      That's why they have Find My iPhone, to try and tract it. I know some people are smart enough to get around that, but at least Apple has it available. I agree with the whole disabling the phone remotely, that would be nice. Hopefully it would stop people from wanting to steal iPhone's in the first place if they knew that wouldn't be able to sell it again.