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US prosecutors call for smartphone 'kill switch' with launch of anti-theft initiative

US prosecutors call for smartphone 'kill switch' with launch of anti-theft initiative

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San Francisco and New York prosecutors will today roll out a new scheme aimed at cutting smartphone theft in the US. The AP reports that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon will launch the Save Our Smartphones Initiative, forming a collation with police, prosecutors, and consumer groups across the country to demand smartphone makers place tighter restrictions on stolen devices.

Gascon and Schneiderman will meet with Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft later today

The announcement comes exactly a month after Schneiderman called upon Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Motorola Mobility to improve security on mobile devices. Schneiderman and Gascon will co-host a "Smartphone Summit" with major device makers shortly after today's announcement, pressing representatives to introduce a "kill switch" capable of completely deactivating units should they be lost or stolen.

At its WWDC keynote earlier this week, Apple announced it would make it harder for thieves to reactivate a stolen unit with the launch of a new security feature in iOS 7. In a joint statement, Gascon and Schneiderman said they were “appreciative of the gesture” but would reserve judgement until they were able to “understand its actual functionality.” Last year, New York City saw its first increase in crime in the last two decades due to a massive increase in stolen iPhones. Reports suggest 113 smartphones are lost or stolen each minute in the US, with 1 in 3 robberies nationwide now involving the theft of a mobile phone.