Is It Time To Have Government Order Manufacturers To Add Free Features?

November 12, 2013, By Daniel Rapcencu

Every time I go to purchase an electronic gadget, I go through the features available on competing models and compare them against what I need and then add in the price before I decide on whose gadget I buy. That goes for smartphones too. If I want a feature that is an extra charge, I weigh whether the price is worth it for me or not.


There have been dramatic increases in smartphone thefts in recent years and the trend is escalating. There have also been various apps that attempt to help you find it, or at least make it difficult for the thief to use it. Some apps sound a loud alarm when the phone is turned on while others will allow you to use the built-in GPS to pinpoint the location of your stolen phone.

Smartphone snatch and grab theft

Smartphone snatch and grab theft via The Times

Still other tools actually wipe all the contents from the smartphone. At least one manufacturer has a tool that actually kills the phone, preventing any use. I have an app I purchased that will prevent a thief from using my phone if I report it stolen and it is well worth the price. If you want this type of protection, you can buy it too!

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman thinks differently.  New York City has had a huge amount of smartphone thefts where people have it literally ripped from their hands and the thief runs into a crowd never to be seen again. He sees a simple solution to the problem of all these thefts: he wants every smartphone manufacturer to build in anti-theft measures and provide it for free.

He has teamed up with 30 other state attorneys general and formed a group called Secure Our Smartphones. They are sending letters to Google, Motorola, Microsoft and Samsung requesting they step up to the plate and actively work on bringing anti-theft solutions to their products.

Samsung and Apple are noticeably absent from the addressees on the letters. This is because they provide or have in beta testing such additions to prevent the use of stolen smartphones.

Do you have any such protection on your smartphone? Do you think people should buy their own apps or should the manufacturers build such protection in for free?

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