“Kill switch” software to tackle smartphone theft as Boris Johnson calls for action
New security measures needed as part of “corporate responsibility, Mayor tells companies
Boris Johnson has told mobile phone companies that they must do more to prove that they are not deliberately and directly benefiting from handset thefts, as security experts in the US tested new “kill switch” software being introduced by Apple and Samsung.
The number of incidents of smartphone mugging has soared, even as overall crime rates reached their lowest level for almost two decades. Metropolitan police figures show 10,000 handsets are stolen every month in London alone.
The capital’s mayor wrote a letter to the British heads of eight major manufacturers, including Blackberry, Microsoft and HTC, calling on them to be “serious about your corporate responsibility” and “help solve this problem”.
Apple and other retail stores have been criticised for letting criminals swap stolen phones, claimed to be “broken”, for new handsets, and for making money from uninsured victims who then have to splash out on expensive replacement handsets.
Mr Johnson’s letter went on: “Customers and shareholders surely deserve to know that business cannot and must not benefit directly from smartphone theft through sales of replacement devices.”
The mayor’s officials met with counterparts in New York this week, in a bid to broker a deal on transatlantic collaboration to tackle the growing problem.
The new “kill switch” measures from Apple and Samsung, which would render a stolen handset useless and could only be undone with an original set of login details, aims to offer a stronger defence than current software like the Find My iPhone application, which can easily be switched off by thieves who know where to look.
US security experts tested the new software this week, demonstrating their effectiveness as part of a New York and San Francisco-led campaign called “Secure Our Smartphones”.
And in a statement to the Financial Times, Apple said it was proud to have “led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices”.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Tube strike July 2015: Is it still on? Everything you need to know about the industrial action
Eiji Tsuburaya: Godzilla co-creator honoured in today's interactive Google Doodle
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...