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  • NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Pushing for a Kill Switch for Stolen Devices


    Crime involving smartphone theft has become an epidemic, especially in places such as New York City where the crime rate went up for the first time in twenty years thanks to thieves looking to steal an iOS device. As a response to the iOS device crimewave, Apple has added significant improvements to iOS 7 including a new Activation Lock feature, but according to the New York Police Department’s new commissioner, Bill Bratton, this isn’t enough. Bratton claims to be sure that Apple and other US Smartphone manufacturers are in cahoots with insurance companies to make a fortune by not installing a kill switch within their devices and/or platforms.

    While speaking at a symposium on community policing, Commissioner Bratton said he’s joining the efforts of NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón to pressure Apple and other mobile device makers to install a kill switch for stolen devices. According to him, it would be easy for OEMs to make the kill switch and that Samsung already proposed making it standard on its phones but American manufacturers such as Apple are resistant to the idea. He stated the following regarding the matter:

    They don’t want to do it because they are basically working in cahoots with the insurance companies and they’re making a fortune off it… We are responding to a problem they can prevent. They have the capability to effectively make these phones useless.
    The activation lock feature in iOS 7 gives users the option to disable lost or stolen iPhones remotely, rendering the device useless without the owner’s iCloud password or PIN, which sounds like a user-controlled kill switch. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón was pretty content with the feature as well. Other smartphone makers have yet to release such a feature so perhaps Bratton’s focus is a bit misdirected. We’ll have to wait and see what step is taken next to help resolve the bigger issue at hand here.

    Source: EpochTimes
    This article was originally published in forum thread: NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Pushing for a Kill Switch for Stolen Devices started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. cmwade77's Avatar
      cmwade77 -
      If there is a kill switch, I want full control over it. I don't want a device manufacture to decide that I should no longer be allowed to use a device that I paid for and issuing a kill command to it.

      Bottom line is Apple's setup is a kill switch, plan and simple. That being said, I really don't think enforcing the laws is the responsibility of the manufacturer. Enforcing laws is the responsibility of the police.
    1. slim.jim's Avatar
      slim.jim -
      It's called an IMEI number. Have it blacklisted and the device can't be activated.
    1. hogcia's Avatar
      hogcia -
      Who cares, thieves will simply sell the phones for parts. They will still make plenty of money that way.
    1. magoo657's Avatar
      magoo657 -
      Quote Originally Posted by hogcia View Post
      Who cares, thieves will simply sell the phones for parts. They will still make plenty of money that way.
      Yep...
    1. Kotin6006's Avatar
      Kotin6006 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmwade77 View Post
      If there is a kill switch, I want full control over it. I don't want a device manufacture to decide that I should no longer be allowed to use a device that I paid for and issuing a kill command to it.

      Bottom line is Apple's setup is a kill switch, plan and simple. That being said, I really don't think enforcing the laws is the responsibility of the manufacturer. Enforcing laws is the responsibility of the police.
      What kind of government would we have if they always did their job?
    1. Moneymikey's Avatar
      Moneymikey -
      Just ask the thieves nicely and maybe they will give the phones back
    1. dsg's Avatar
      dsg -
      NO! do your job, it's what your paid for

      Edit: he looks like he's part of the mob
    1. novadam's Avatar
      novadam -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kotin6006 View Post
      What kind of government would we have if they always did their job?
      a government unlike any other private or public organization on earth.
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      I wonder why he thinks iOS 7's activation lock isn't enough?

      Some devs are getting pestered with requests for an activation lock by-pass. iH8sn0w has joked that he needs more stolen devices to test it on! ;-) That - and the fact that the prices of activation-locked iDevices are plummeting on eBay, would seem to suggest it's working pretty well. Kudos to Apple.
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      The Pin Lock feature definitely does what it supposed to do. Its not up to Apple to control crime. Police should thank them for giving them something to do :] On a serious note, I don't want anyone being able to kill my phone but me. If my phone gets stolen, why do i care if someone can use it..I CAN'T! Controlling what happens to your phone after you don't have it...once again who cares. You're still going to go buy another one. At the same time, Obama can turn off the internet anytime he wants to, Interpole can investigate you without supervision or consequence...I hope you all know that the day when they decide to put into effect a kill switch is right around the corner...natural progression.
    1. Lohand's Avatar
      Lohand -
      Quote Originally Posted by hogcia View Post
      Who cares, thieves will simply sell the phones for parts. They will still make plenty of money that way.
      What if the "kill switch" burns no, fry hardware components as well? There would be no valuable parts to sell.
    1. Spazmonic's Avatar
      Spazmonic -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lohand View Post
      What if the "kill switch" burns hardware components as well? There would be no valuable parts to sell.
      They should have a Mission Impossible like self destruct option programmed into Find iPhone. I can see the posts now.
      "Help! I accidentally hit self destruct and now my iPhone is on fire. What do I do "
    1. politicalslug's Avatar
      politicalslug -
      Selling it for parts doesn't work as well since the value decreases as a result of the labor involved in stripping the parts and reselling them, which at a kiosk won't net much in service cost for the seller.
    1. jonathan1683's Avatar
      jonathan1683 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lohand View Post
      What if the "kill switch" burns no, fry hardware components as well? There would be no valuable parts to sell.
      then they will turn it off .
    1. gqgarnett's Avatar
      gqgarnett -
      IMEI Only works in the country the phone is registered stolen in, so they can take the phone to another country and it will work.
    1. MrLingerLonger's Avatar
      MrLingerLonger -
      NYC politicians need to keep out of trying to intrude on other peoples business!
    1. WHUDS's Avatar
      WHUDS -
      idiotic Idea, it can be misused and its just a phone, Why just Iphone? how about Android? I really think these officials need to work on more important issues like the healthcare mess

      Quote Originally Posted by MrLingerLonger View Post
      NYC politicians need to keep out of trying to intrude on other peoples business!
      Whats next? 1 big mac a day? You can only eat fast food 10 meals a week or something? Cali : must be 2 people in a car to drive it…This Big Brother, officials know best crap is getting worse!
    1. MMX007's Avatar
      MMX007 -
      I think Apple's Activation Lock feature is the best answer to all the stolen phone problem. All manufacturer should implement it period. But with just one added extra will be even better which is: to electronically locking/disabling all major valuable components so everyone knows it's really "Bricked" forever and only good for a doorstop. There's a good Apple! 😄
    1. Perlova's Avatar
      Perlova -
      The commisioner should stick to what he knows, (crime fighting, hopefully?)I don't think that anyone is claiming a stolen iPhone on their insurance. The deductible is more than the cost of the iPhone. The only ones profiting from stolen iDevices are the thief and Apple.
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      Quote Originally Posted by bigboyz View Post
      The Pin Lock feature definitely does what it supposed to do. Its not up to Apple to control crime. Police should thank them for giving them something to do :] On a serious note, I don't want anyone being able to kill my phone but me. If my phone gets stolen, why do i care if someone can use it..I CAN'T! Controlling what happens to your phone after you don't have it...once again who cares. You're still going to go buy another one. At the same time, Obama can turn off the internet anytime he wants to, Interpole can investigate you without supervision or consequence...I hope you all know that the day when they decide to put into effect a kill switch is right around the corner...natural progression.
      Just thinking out loud about what you wrote:

      Pin Lock: If you mean SIM pin, yes, it prevents unauthorized use of a SIM. That's not the problem. The problem is a stolen iPhone.

      Its not up to Apple to control crime: Yes, it's not up to Apple. However, if Apple creates an environment conducive to criminal enterprise and knowingly allows it to continue through inaction and profits from said enterprise then they are just as guilty as the thieves.

      I don't want anyone being able to kill my phone but me: I totally agree with this. A remote kill via the carrier networks may be the answer but it needs to be controlled by the owner. Of course it would be difficult to guarantee that but it's worth talking about.

      If my phone gets stolen, why do i care if someone can use it: Motive. The market for stolen iPhones is HUGE. And that's ignoring theft of other types of devices (computers, laptops, radios, etc.) If Your stolen iPhone can't be used in any network in the world, it's worthless to anyone but you. That's why you care. Your iPhone is substantially less likely to be stolen if it can't be used.

      Obama can turn off the internet anytime he wants to: Watch less TV. Obama is incapable of 'turning off the internet anytime he wants'. It's too decentralized, too global. I suppose he could send people to cut some links and possibly isolate the US & its territories but I think that it's more likely we'd see a global financial meltdown leading to Road Warrior-type chaos first. Or the melting of the polar caps. Take your pick.

      Interpole [sic] can investigate you without supervision or consequence: Actually, InterPol is overwatched and monitored far more diligently than most US LEAs. One of the primary complaints about InterPol is related to Red Notices and their use against exiled political and refugees which, frankly, doesn't apply to most people here. You should be more concerned with your local LEA that is far more likely to have a much bigger impact on your day-to-day activities.