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NY Hosting Smartphone Robbery Summit

by Jeff Coltin
A A
NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Addressing the Crowd

Jeff Coltin, WFUV News

"Apple Picking" not Just About Fruit Anymore

Smartphones have changed the world in many ways.  Like changing the meaning of "apple picking" from pulling fruit to cell phone robbery.  The crime's called apple picking because Apple iPhones are often targeted.  

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is meeting with the "Big 4" smartphone makers next week.  That's Apple, Google/Motorola, Samsung, and Microsoft, as well as San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, who is joining Schneiderman in the initiative.

Schneiderman is asking the tech companies to install a so-called "kill switch" that could make the phone useless if stolen.  He said they're not doing all they can.

"These companies promote the security of their phones in their marketing all the time," he said Wednesday. "And they do have security systems,
but they have declined, thus far, to install the mechanisms that could render the phones inoperable."

Schneiderman says cell phone resale is a $30-billion dollar industry.  He feared that flow of money could be hindering the development of tougher security measures.

While other street crime is down, smartphone theft saw a 40% increase in 2012.

"This crime is skyrocketing," Schneiderman said. "We've people in New York over the past year stabbed, shot, killed [for their cell phones]."

The summit will be Thursday, June 13.  The office has not yet announced if the event will be open to press.  

Schneiderman made the announcement speaking to a luncheon for the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City.  He also addressed the group, mostly comprised of lawyers, on cleaning up corruption in elections.

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