Gascón will take a look at Apple’s anti-theft effort 

click to enlarge Craig Federighi
  • The Associated Press
  • Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple talks about the features of the new iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013 in San Francisco.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple talks about the features of the new iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013 in San Francisco.

The top prosecutors in San Francisco and New York state, seeking ways to curb thefts of mobile devices, said Monday they will reserve judgment of Apple's new security feature designed to make it harder to reactivate a stolen iPhone.

District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have been asking the leading wireless device makers to create a kill switch that would render stolen phones useless.

Apple mentioned the new feature Monday during the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. It's part of iOS 7, a new version of Apple's smartphone software that's set to be released in the fall.

"We are appreciative of the gesture made by Apple to address smartphone theft. We reserve judgment on the activation lock feature until we can understand its actual functionality," the prosecutors said in a joint written statement.

Apple's announcement comes as Gascón and Schneiderman are scheduled to co-host a smartphone summit on Thursday in New York with representatives from Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Almost 1 in 3 robberies nationwide involves the theft of a mobile phone, according to the Federal Communications Commission, which is coordinating formation this fall of a national database system to track cellphones reported stolen.

While Apple didn't provide many specifics Monday, the new activation lock feature is designed to prevent thieves from turning off the Find My iPhone application, which allows owners to track their phone on a map, remotely set a passcode and delete their data.

The new activation lock apparently would require someone to know a user's Apple ID and password to reactivate a stolen phone, even after a thief erases all the data on the device.

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