The Attorney General for the state of New York recently 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. In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Eric Schneiderman called the company to task on not implementing tech to cut down on theft. The following was part of his letter:
I seek to understand, 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.
As of right now, 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. According to critics though, these efforts don’t deter thieves who will typically hack a device to erase all of its data and basically make it brand new. Schneiderman addressed this issue in his latter to Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt:
Foreign trafficking of stolen devices has proliferated 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.