The number of smartphones stolen in the U.S. doubled last year, with an estimated total of 3.1 million handsets being taken from their owners. That’s an increase from 1.6 million stolen smartphones in 2012. Another 1.4 million phones were lost or misplaced by their owners last year, an increase of 200,000 over 2012’s 1.2 million.
The numbers are indeed surprising, but it seems that people learned from their mistakes and start employing extra safety measures. While it is hard to glue your smartphone against your body so you never lose it and it never gets stolen, you can at least protect the data stored in the phone in case such unfortunate accident occurs. PIN codes are quite an old fashioned method of keeping the content of the phone safe and sound and pretty much everybody uses them, while others built data back-ups on their computers back home and even employed software encryption. Unfortunately, a large number of people doesn’t use any security measure at all.
But let’s keep our hopes up, as we will soon have a protection method against smartphones theft: the Kill Switch, not the newest idea rolled out when it came to preventing smartphones theft, but one that becomes more and more appealing as time goes by. Last week’s news revealed that
CTIA-The Wireless Association announced that under a “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment,” the companies including Apple, Samsung, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, U.S. Cellular, Sprint, and T-Mobile have agreed to provide a free preloaded or downloadable anti-theft tool on smartphones sold in the U.S. after July 2015.
This announcement seems to be related to Samsung, which installed two anti – theft features on its latest Samsung Galaxy S5, while Apple has been rolling with similar features and tools since last year.
From a legal point of view, things look basically like this:
Earlier this month, California legislators introduced a bill that, if passed, would require mobile devices sold in or shipped to the state to be equipped with the anti-theft devices starting next year — a move that could be the first of its kind in the United States. Similar legislation is being considered in New York, Illinois, and Minnesota, and bills have been introduced in both houses of Congress.
All fine and dandy, you might say, but these measures won’t be of any use to anybody if people don’t start using the available technology. While we will soon have a protection method against smartphone theft, we had some safety alternatives before and yet, one in three robberies in the U.S. are still involving a smartphone, reports say.