It’s clear to see small changes are making a difference as police say Apple’s anti-theft switches have dramatically reduced iPhone thefts
Did you know an estimated 1.6 million smartphones stolen in U.S. in 2012? And the number continues to rise. The FCC indicates smartphone thefts account for 30% to 40% of all robberies nationwide. Not only will you lose your phone and personal (maybe even company) data, but in some instances smartphone theft has resulted in violence.
When mobile sales are booming, smartphone thefts are almost certain to rise. Proponents of kill switch technology in mobile devices, which permanently disables a stolen phone and renders it worthless, believe thieves are not going to stop stealing until they are certain fast cash smartphones are of no use to them.
After pressuring Apple to implement a “kill switch” inside its devices, The New York Times reports that police officers in London and San Francisco saw iPhone robberies in the cities fall by 24 percent and 38 percent respectively in the six months before and after the company implemented its Activation Lock feature inside iOS 7.
In New York, robberies were down by 19 percent and those involving grand larcenies dropped 29 percent when police compared data in the first five months of 2014 with the same period from 2013.
Opponents of the bill, including wireless carriers, believe a kill switch would greatly inhibit profit earnings from phone insurance and replacement phones. The four largest wireless carriers made an estimated $7.8 billion dollars from theft and loss insurance products in 2013.
Despite protest, things will move forward significantly from July 2015, when all smartphones sold in the United States will come with an anti-theft tool set as standard.
Are cars next? The urge to create electronic inhibitors to protect property has moved beyond mobile phones in Europe, where authorities reportedly have been developing a kill switch for cars as a defense against dangerous car chases.