Sunday, November 24, 2013


The family of a Chicago woman who was shot dead in St. Louis by a robber who stole her cell phone is hoping to put pressure on manufacturers to incorporate kill switches on mobile devices that would make them worthless to thieves. According to ABC7,
A group called Secure Our Smartphones is also pushing for kill switches. The initiative is led by prosecutors in San Francisco and the New York state attorney general, who met with [the victim's father]. Other members are top prosecutors in Illinois, Massachusetts and five other states; police chiefs or commissioners in Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and other major cities; and law enforcement officers nationwide.
Samsung Electronics, the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer, says it has the technology to incorporate kill switches in its products. But wireless companies and industry lobbyists oppose the move, fearful that hackers could disable mobile devices and compromise public safety by disabling the phones of entities such as the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies.
Or maybe the real reason is NOT national security? From Gizmodo:
Carriers don't want to give you anti-theft tools because they're making too much money on stolen phones. Actually, it's the fear of stolen phones that prompts people to pay large sums of money for insurance, money that then pads the carriers' earning statements. So carriers are making money off of their customers' fear. How awesome is that?!
An online petition sponsored by Secure Our Smartphones is up HERE at

UPDATED 2:06PM: Added Gizmodo link and quote.


  1. $50.

    Again, I can't believe people in this country are shooting, stabbing and mob attacking over phones they turn around and sell for.......$50.

    We're in much worse shape than the MSM leads us to believe and I knew this all along.

    1. You can't believe it? It's a fact. If you can't believe it, just read some of the cellphone mugging crimes reported by CWB.

    2. I've seen them on the street long before CWB was reporting them (one wasn't a simple "mugging" either).

  2. Thank you for reporting this .. horrific, gut wrenching to consider the stunning grief and pain from the senseless loss of completely innocent people at the hands of coldblooded, craven, brutal animals who value human life so low. I dread and fear headlines like that here, if something isn't done to rein in these thugs quickly with more police.

    I understand the fix would be simple, just like reporting a stolen credit card and cancelling it with a phone call, but the position the carriers are apparently taking is outrageous ..mercenary and heartless:

    Gascón recently told The New York Times that he came across an email thread between Samsung and the carriers suggesting that the carriers don't want the anti-theft software because it "would eat into the profit they make from the insurance programs many consumers buy to cover lost or stolen phones."

    A list of articles on the subject:

    I hope the petition raises outrage and awareness on this growing crime and multiplies by the tens of housands of signers .. urge everyone to sign it and please pass it along to everyone you know.

    1. The insurance! That's the reason. We knew it wasn't their lame "national security" excuse.

      Great link, Anonymous. Thank you!

  3. Anyone holding an Apple device updated to ios7 should definitely explore the "Activation Lock" and "Remote Erase" features which have been added. You can find details here:

    The goal is to turn a stolen or lost phone into a fancy paperweight. Apple, not surprisingly, is taking the carriers out of the loop. Why is that not surprising? Because while the carriers make money from the secondary market in phones, the manufacturers don't. Indeed Apple makes more money if lost or stolen phones have no market - it forces people to buy new phones in the first place. No doubt Android will not be far behind.

    And if you're skeptical that the feature works, there are already plenty of blog threads where buyers of "used" phones are complaining that they cannot activate. It's not perfect; for example it's not automatic, a user must activate the service, and if your locking pin can be hacked, a thief can disable the service. However, this is a great step.

  4. Good to know... thank you very much. Apple needs to publicize that, vigorously, to dissuade the thugs.