Consumer Reports says smartphone theft nearly doubled in 2013 

click to enlarge A story by Consumer Reports said that smartphone theft nearly doubled in 2013 from the previous year.
  • A story by Consumer Reports said that smartphone theft nearly doubled in 2013 from the previous year.

Just days after a lobbying group for the wireless industry announced a voluntary anti-theft commitment for smartphones and other mobile devices, Consumer Reports wrote a story that said rougly 3.1 million people were victims of smartphone theft in the United States last year.

The report says that is double the projection from 2012.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who have strongly supported kill-switch technology being available on all devices at the time of purchase, issued a statement Thursday in regards to the report.

"Today's report showing smartphone theft nearly doubling over the course of just one year is the latest reminder of the urgent need for the wireless industry to take action now," the statement said.

On Tuesday, the lobbying group CTIA-The Wireless Association, issued a policy that would start in July of next year that would give consumers and opt-in choice of an anti-theft tool that would either come on the device or be downloaded.

Law enforcement officials such as Gascón, Schneiderman and state Sen. Mark Leno said that move was a good start but fall far short of what is needed to prevent theft of mobile devices.

They said earlier this week that they would prefer technology that would come with the device by default and would be opt-out rather than opt-in and in the case a device is lost or stolen would be rendered useless.

They also criticized the timeframe in which the CTIA policy would go through.

"Every week that passes, another family falls victim to violent and often deadly smartphone theft," according to Thursday's statement. "Wireless customers are being targeted for their devices because the industry has failed to deploy existing safeguards."

Gascón and Leno said this week that they will continue to support the passage of Leno's Senate Bill 962 that would require devices sold in California come with a kill-switch technology that would render a device useless at the time of sale and would go into effect Jan. 1.

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