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Post date: October 15 2014

A.G. Schneiderman & D.A. Gascón Statement On The Release Of Android Kill Switch

Schneiderman & Gascón: Google’s Adoption Of An Android Kill Switch Provides The Majority Of Smartphone Owners With An Anti-Theft Tool That Will Save Lives

We Will Continue To Encourage The Industry To Make Theft Deterrents An Opt-Out Function On All Devices

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón today issued the following statement on the release of Google’s new version of Android software, which will incorporate theft deterrent technology for the first time.

“We applaud Google for including a ‘kill switch’ solution in its new version of Android, one of the most popular smartphone operating systems in the world.  The majority of smartphone owners now have access to an theft-deterrent solution. Through the work of the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative in concert with the smartphone industry, we are well on our way to safeguarding our loved ones from opportunistic thieves.

“But in order for these theft deterrents to effectively end the epidemic, they must be enabled by default so violent criminals lack the incentive to steal any smartphone.  We will continue to encourage every actor in the smartphone industry – including Google – to take the necessary, additional step of ensuring this technology is opt-out on all devices.”

As co-chairs of the Secure Our Smartphone (S.O.S.) Initiative – an international partnership of law-enforcement agencies, elected officials and consumer advocates – Attorney General Schneiderman and District Attorney Gascón led the effort to call on the wireless industry to address the global rise in smartphone thefts. The ultimate goal of SOS is for every mobile device to have a “kill switch” on by default.  A default solution is imperative because it ensures all device are worthless to thieves.

In a June 2014 report by the S.O.S. Initiative, new data showed that criminals now target devices not likely to be equipped with a kill switch.  In New York, London and San Francisco, robberies and grand larcenies involving iPhones plummeted following the release of Apple’s Activation Lock, while violent crimes against people carrying phones without a kill switch surged. This demonstrated the importance of immediately implementing life-saving technology by all manufacturers. Because kill switches are mostly available on a solely opt-in basis, not enough consumers are signing up. Kill switches must be a standard opt-out function on all phones and other mobile devices.

For more information on efforts by Attorney General Schneiderman and District Attorney Gascón to combat “Apple Picking,” visit the New York State Attorney General’s website and the San Francisco District Attorney’s website.

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