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Fighting the iCrime Wave

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the there's-an-app-for-that dept.

Crime 170

theodp writes "'What's the point of a mobile device,' asks WSJ reporter and iPad-beatdown-victim Rolfe Winkler, 'if people don't feel safe using it while they're mobile?' A lucrative secondhand market for today's electronics devices — a used iPad or iPhone can fetch $400+ — has produced an explosion in 'Apple picking' by thieves. So, how big is the iCrime wave? In New York City alone, there were more than 26,000 incidents of electronics theft in the first 10 months of 2011 — 81% involving mobile phones — according to an internal NYPD document. And plenty of the crimes are violent. The best way to deter theft is to reduce the value of stolen device — the wireless industry is moving to adopt a national registry that would deny service to such devices. A remote kill switch has been discussed as another approach. For its part, Apple says the company 'has led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices,' although some are unimpressed."

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170 comments

Can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802527)

a kill switch be used to brick the phones of dissidents?

Re:Can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802591)

The US Government can already do that.

Re:Can... (1)

imagined.by (2589739) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802795)

You can remote locate, lock and wipe iOS devices. If the thief connects to the internet, that is.

Re:Can... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803027)

...if the person bothered to set that up. ...if the person knew that was possible. ...if your average iphone user considered that to be worth the time and effort rather than first whining on Facebook, then going to the ATT or Apple store and buying a brand new one.

This is why there's a second market. Firstly because people will buy them obviously, but secondly because iphone users generally aren't tech savvy.

Re:Can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803039)

Yeah, it serves these smug bastards right.

Location, Location, Location. (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802553)

Perhaps you should not live in some city where getting beat up over your iPad is something you need to worry about. You'll have to pardon me that I'm not giving a shit that you got mugged in NYC, its kind of expected.

Re:Location, Location, Location. (1)

fimion (890504) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802611)

Yes, so, no one should live in NYC, LA, Atlanta,etc....

Re:Location, Location, Location. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802759)

You can live there, but just accept the fact that it is a target rich environment and take precautions. Stop thinking that you are the center of the world and everyone needs to follow policies you think you need.

Re:Location, Location, Location. (4, Funny)

boarder8925 (714555) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802791)

For some reason, I find this comic [kickinthehead.org] appropriate.

Re:Location, Location, Location. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803365)

I find it quite funny that the hype and BS that (Cr)apple's extremely overpriced and crappy products are better and/or owning them makes you cool is now backfireing in this way!

I have the perfect solution. An inexpensive Samsung phone that only makes/receives calls and texts, and a Lenovo 7 inch tablet. Both can be replaced for less than 1/3 of the cost of an iphone.

Since (Cr)apple cannot compete with the higher quality products from other companies, they are reduced to trying to litigate their competitors out of business to survive!

Re:Location, Location, Location. (2)

memeplex (910698) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804071)

Hah! I do the reverse. I use black Sony earbuds with my iPod Touch, and nobody looks twice. I actually felt embarrassingly trendy with the white ones, but still love the iPod.

Re:Location, Location, Location. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802717)

So you're saying that you have to live in a city with no black people? Sounds a bit racist to me.

Re:Location, Location, Location. (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802863)

Or at least don't flash your fancy devices in a bad neighbourhood.

Re:Location, Location, Location. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802973)

But what is the point of owning an iDevice if you can't show people you have it?

Re:Location, Location, Location. (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803157)

You jest, but I've heard people say shit just like that. It's a "status symbol", remember?

Re:Location, Location, Location. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803263)

Congrats on having the stupidest post ever on slashdot.

Re:Location, Location, Location. (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803559)

This isn't the 90's any more, you don't need to count mugging as inevitable in NYC. Unless you have an iPad or iPhone... you never hear about anyone snatching a Galaxy Nexus or a Blackberry.

Re:Location, Location, Location. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803895)

Forget it, these people live in some meth-infested shithole and sleep with a gun under their pillow because they're afraid of home invasions. They'll never 'get' city life.

I got one (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802561)

I'm posting AC for good reason :P But i recently got a "second hand" ipad from a shady friend. Only reason i got it was cause the money wasnt going to apple and it was cheaper then the Nexus 7 i was planning on buying. Gotta say kids love it. Also i made sure it was never registered with that pesky find my ipad/iphone app shit before i bought it.

Re:I got one (4, Insightful)

Grave (8234) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803309)

Not only are you scum, but the original owner is likely just going to buy another iPad to replace the stolen one, thus giving Apple more money. Congrats on your failure as a human being.

Crime pays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802579)

Crime pays apple. The owners of a stolen iToy replace it with another. This is not a problem for Apple in any way. It would be very simple for Apple to offer an opt-in DRM solution, part of their DRM walled garden thing, that lets you register your phone, and then requires you to offer an id when replacing the device under warranty. Similarly, if you fax a police report for the stolen phone with your phone number, presto, not a phone anymore, and not an iToy until jailbroken. Given that they already stalk you, what's the loss?

Re:Crime pays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802607)

No and no. Way too much potential for abuse.

Keep stolen phones off networks (5, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802595)

It's simple enough for carries to identify what a phone's IMEI is and not allow it on their network if it's reported lost or stolen. That would stop most cell phone theft.

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802755)

Yeah, nothing to do with iDiots.

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (4, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802757)

What's obnoxious is that Apple will 'helpfully' hand over a replacement iPhone for all kinds of reasons, but without any verification as to whether you are the owner. So thief steals iPhone, goes to Apple store and complains about something on the iPhone not working right, is handed new iPhone with new IMEI.

If you are cynical, you'd think Apple does this specifically so thieves will steal them, so you have to buy another iPhone.

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (1)

imagined.by (2589739) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802803)

If you are stupid, you'd think Apple does this specifically so thieves will steal them, so you have to buy another iPhone.

FTFY. Why would Apple want to hand a free phone to thieves to make legitimate customers buy another one?

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (2)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802995)

Well, they just swap a used phone for a refurb, so it's a fairly low cost to Apple, and they want to keep their customers happy.

If the 'customer' happens to be a thief, Apple isn't out a lot of money and they know the real customer is probably going to shell out full price for another iPhone [resulting in a LOT of profit for Apple].

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803617)

Wouldn't Apple know the IMEI of the phone that was given to the thief then????

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (4, Interesting)

oPless (63249) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802785)

Yes, but what are you going to to about wireless-only iPads/Tablets?

IIRC GSM/3G phones in the UK and most of europe (assumption) all check against a list of stolen/insurance claimed devices - it won't register on the network, and 2nd hand phone traders/repairers/refurbishers will not touch them with the added bonus of passing your details onto the police.

However outside this area there is no communication between registration bodies. Your stolen euro phones just go to the middle-east/asia/africa.

In the states they're only just about getting their arses into gear. I doubt they'll data-share with their euro cousins either.

Wireless only not as great a risk (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803163)

Yes, but what are you going to to about wireless-only iPads/Tablets?

Generally they will not be used out-and-about as much as the devices you can use anywhere, so the risk is much lower.

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803435)

For Christ sakes an iPad is a tablet. Stop writing iPad/tablet because they are the same type of product.

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (4, Interesting)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802845)

When my wife lost her iPhone we called AT&T and asked if they could help us get it back. They told us that they "can't track a phone". Not that "we can't do that for legal reasons" or something similar. They claimed that they don't have the technological capability. I asked, "If I were the CIA or FBI and asked you to find this phone, would you still say that you don't have the capability?" "Correct. We can't do it." Please.

The carriers don't care if someone loses a phone, or has one stolen. Whoever ends up with it could use it on their network, creating an additional customer. They care more about that than getting your mobile device back.

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803569)

Do thieves of consumer electronics really make great customers? Are we saying that someone with a long relationship with the company and a good credit score has the same value as a teenager that happy slapped some person on the street and ran off with their 4S?

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803607)

They do know the cell tower it's using and can approximately identify the distance and angle from the tower from signal strength. But that's not very accurate, especially since the environment, terrain, buildings etc will affect that as well as position. Often that's accurate enough to pin it down to a street, but not to an individual address. Which means it isn't enough to get a warrant to search every person/building on the street for the phone. You'd need additional intelligence too - tipoffs/stakeouts/many phones etc - but that's costly so isn't going to happen unless many stolen devices appear to be at the same location. And although they can uniquely identify the phone by its IMEI when it connects to the network, if the thief manages to change (spoof) the IMEI (trivial on some older phones, much harder on more recent phones) then they can never identify that device again.

Apple's Find My iPhone is far more accurate since it gets the phone to use GPS rather than measuring signal strength, but because it relies on the feature being enabled, the phone being connected to the internet and not having been wiped isn't going to work all the time. Generally if you've enabled it and the thief knows to disable it you've only got a few minutes to find the location. By the time you pass that onto the police they'll be in a completely different area.

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804103)

You are vastly overthinking this. First, the IMEI identifies the phone, but if the phone is actually being used, it must have a SIM which identifies the subscriber. The phone company knows both. Of course, the SIM could be an anonymously bought prepaid SIM which is only every topped up in cash, in which case the phone company can't identify the owner. That said, there is the much, much simpler solution of blocking the use of phones that are reported stolen (or, for more effective recovery, perhaps requiring them to talk to customer service and being tricked into giving up their location).

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802937)

Buying cheaper phones would also reduce theft. My ISP virginMobile sells the 4S for $650..... no wonder the thieves want it (so they can resell it and make a pretty penny). But I doubt any would waste their time stealing the HTC One V which has all the same functions, but only cost $200. It's not worth the effort.

And to address another gentleman:
>>>>>Bought an i7-equipped PC for $650. An equal-speced MacMini costs almost double
>>
>>why is that worthy of putting in a sig? I mean congratulations on your accomplishment. I'm sure I could custom build an i-7 equipped PC for cheaper than whatever one you bought.

Is that an offer? If you can build an i7 PC with Windows7 installed and 8GB of RAM (expandable to 16GB) plus 1TB drive for $500 shipped, I'll buy it from you.
What's that?
You CAN'T build it for that cheap? Oh okay. Well then stop talking trash. (And stop defending Apple; there's no reason an equal-spec Mac should cost ~$1250 shipped.)

Re:Keep stolen phones off networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803983)

100% This has always been the case in places like Sweden. Lost or Stolen phones say right on the screen that they are lost or stolen.

Apple and other US companies have smirked and looked the other way for years.

If you don't pay, they turn your phone off instantly but when it's stolen, suddenly they can't turn it off?

They are scammers.

Anti-Theft (or post-theft) software (2)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802625)

I'm sure there are many apps out there that offer remote locking, GPS-tracking, and other features. I have Prey installed on my Nexus S, it can report GPS-location, access point names, network structure, etc, display messages, change the lock method, sound an alarm, maybe even wipe the phone, all with a single SMS or web interface setting.
This is the only one I know (luckily, I never had to activate it, though), but a quick search of the Android market reveals 1000+ results for anti-theft, I'm sure the App Store has a similar number of hits.

So there's no need for such a registry (although it wouldn't hurt either), people just need to prepare for the worst, and install such an app in time.

I'm not exactly sure if the SMS-activation would work on an iPad, though. Are they capable of receiving SMS, or only 3/4G?

Re:Anti-Theft (or post-theft) software (1)

jerquiaga (859470) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802723)

Which is only good until they factory restore the OS, and then re-sell your device. If the IMEI is blocked, there is no resale market for stolen devices, therefore no point to stealing devices.

Re:Anti-Theft (or post-theft) software (3, Interesting)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802837)

I think Prey happens to survive a factory restore. I remember it being already installed after I did a factory reset after a dubiously-gone Android upgrade. And anyway, if you change the lock method to, say, password, from pattern, they won't be able to get into the menu to restore.
Although a recovery-mediated reinstall will most likely kill even Prey...

I'm aware that a blocked IMEI can't be circumvented, but that does make one wonder: why aren't telcos already implementing such measures? And what about not using the device on a cellular network? A WLAN-only iPad wouldn't suffer from IMEI-blocking, so there needs to be another way to deter theft for those devices.

Re:Anti-Theft (or post-theft) software (1)

bobbutts (927504) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803597)

It most certainly does not survive a full flash over odin on a Samsung device. I'm not a thief, but if I was, I'd always wipe/flash stolen devices fully before ever attempting to power them up.

If you didn't build it, you have no right to it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802631)

It's just another form of enforced wealth redistribution.

worry more about the cops taking your phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802641)

than the crooks.

chances are, you have encountered cops much more than you have encountered crooks.

and more and more, you hear of traffic stops and other police actions where they demand to 'peek' thru your personal goods, even ones that are password protected.

you can try to fight back against a crook if he wrongs you. you can't fight the cops. if they demand your phone and want to peruse thru it, you cannot refuse. its a big problem and many of us refuse to carry our personal info around with us, so easily tapped into by blue thugs!

Yeah but don't hide your screen for privacy (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802679)

Doing so is listed on the Dept. of Homeland Security's "suspicious potential terrorist" activities. If you see it, you're supposed to "say it" to the DHS.

Carry a gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802683)

I don't leave my valuables in a place where they can be lifted, or they're locked up nightly.

People should be carrying a gun to prevent mugging. A criminal's life though is quite honestly, not worth the 30 cent bullet for my .45 caliber handgun.

Re:Carry a gun (2)

pepty (1976012) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802981)

By the time you pull your gun out they will already be running away with your phone.

Are you going to shoot them in the back?

Re:Carry a gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803273)

If you are in an area where they feel bold enough to just mug you in broad daylight, hell yeah. Nobody's calling the cops in that neighborhood.

Re:Carry a gun (1)

pepty (1976012) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803491)

No, they'll just record and upload the video of you murdering someone.

Smile for the camera.

Re:Carry a gun (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803885)

Usually the kind of person who carries a gun and is willing to defend themselves with it pulls the gun out and shoots them instead of handing them the phone THEN pulling the gun out

Thanks Apple (0)

binaryspiral (784263) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802695)

Really Apple is the only major manufacturer who has provided me no-cost full disk encryption, location tracking, remote lock, and remote wipe capabilities out of the box for my phone, tablet, and laptop. Others have the option but it's purchased with a time limited service like LoJack or Computrace... and even then, the device support is limited.

It's unfortunate that they don't take a hardline with thieves and serial numbers of devices reported stolen. You remove the ability for an iPhone to activate and the device is useless to the thief.

Thanks Nokia. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803325)

You are aware some of the Nokias have the same capability...out of the box?

Re:Thanks Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803433)

Hate to tell you this, but the Apple service is time-limited, too. They just don't tell you that when you buy it. Apple supports iCloud on iOS 5 and later. They shut down MobileMe. So unless I'm mistaken, the Find My iPhone feature is no longer supported on the original iPhone or the iPhone 3G.

Re:Thanks Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803501)

Really Apple is the only major manufacturer who has provided me no-cost full disk encryption, location tracking, remote lock, and remote wipe capabilities out of the box for my phone,

You gotta be kidding. Blackberries had had strong AES encryption, remote lock & wipe etc long before Steve Jobs even thought of making a phone.

And unlike the iphone, the encryption on the blackberry has been tested, audited & certified [blackberry.com].

Here's a great article explaining why law enforcement loves the iphone: http://chris.pirillo.com/why-do-law-enforcement-officials-love-the-iphone/ [pirillo.com] (hint, it isn't because of the strong iphone security)

Unfortunately, customers don't seem to be interested in real security, so they keep buying iphone...

This is why I carry two iPhones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802725)

One for stealing and one for using.

Re:This is why I carry two iPhones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802881)

That could be a good idea. How much does an empty iPhone "casing" cost?

I'm sure there are some people who have broken their iPhones beyond repair. One could keep it as is in order for the weight to feel right. But it'd be more fitting to rip out the guts and put something weighted into it.

Re:This is why I carry two iPhones (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802977)

That could be a good idea. How much does an empty iPhone "casing" cost?

I can do one better and offer you a real working iPhone for a real low price. Interested? Cash only, please.

Cost based versus Value based (3, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802741)

This is a good example of "cost based" business versus "value based" business.

The "cost based" carriers see a stolen phone as more income - the thief will use it to make calls on the owner's account, and the carrier will see this as more money. So long as stonewalling/ignoring is more lucrative than the effort it takes to fix the subscriber's problem, that's what the carrier will do.

(cf Cramming [wikipedia.org], which is another "cost based" practice.)

In a "value based" model, being able to disable a phone, or tell the owner where it is, or even working with law enforcement to recover lost phones would be a value and a benefit to the customer. Unfortunately, this would require work on the part of the carrier with no obvious gain in revenue.

(One would also expect that having the location of stolen goods and probable cause to enter and look around would be of enormous social value, but for some reason police don't see it that way. Few police will bother to recover a stolen phone, even if they know where it is.)

In times past the primary purpose of a business was "get and keep a customer". Nowadays it's "make money in any way possible".

It's only stuff (3, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802771)

Can't say I have sympathy for that twit who wrote that article who got the shit kicked out of him by these scumbags. He didn't HAVE to chase them, and obviously lacked common sense -- the average person challenges professional criminals at his peril. You never, ever know if the guy you're chasing is some crackhead who'll put a screwdriver through your temple.

It's only stuff. Stuff can be replaced. Lives and limbs cannot.

Re:It's only stuff (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802893)

It's only stuff. Stuff can be replaced. Lives and limbs cannot.

To a iFanboi, the Apple product is an extension of themselves. By chasing the thieves, he was in effect chasing a part of his own anatomy.

Re:It's only stuff (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802943)

Living in a place where it's legal to carry, both open and concealed, a handgun, bringing a screwdriver to a gun fight is a bad move. Having had to draw a weapon, thankfully not having to use it, to defend myself and others, you'd be surprised what a deterrent it is. Most thieves, even the armed ones, are cowards.

Re:It's only stuff (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803127)

Can't do that here. No handguns -- the law here is even more draconian than my native Australia (blame Dunblane)

And London (whose crime rates are much worse than New York nowadays) would be infinitely more dangerous if both the cops and robbers all carried firearms (police are unarmed in Britain [1]). As it is, it takes a LOT more guts to kill somebody with a knife than a gun -- and I prefer it that way. Criminals as a group, as you say, are generally a gutless lot -- why make life easier for them?

[1] When the police ARE armed however, they carry MP5s. Never heard of anybody getting shot by police with one of those, probably because very few criminals are THAT stupid.

Re:It's only stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803289)

Agreed, it is much more effective when using a knife to stab the victim first, then rob them. Keeps them from getting ideas about resisting.

Re:It's only stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803237)

I would be more worried about the theif having a gun, to be honest.

Re:It's only stuff (5, Informative)

rtp (49744) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803509)

The most effective deterrent to high-stakes crime is when victims are their own defense. More people should carry handguns, and the laws should be relatively straightforward for any lawful adult to own and concealed-carry a handgun. Muggings for pocket cash, phones, sneakers and logo jackets occur because the risk to thugs is near zero in cities where the government makes it difficult for law-abiding citizens to carry.

This logic - let the thugs take your stuff, "it's only stuff", is a prey mentality. We aren't sheep. nor ants. People must stick up for themselves, defend each other, and protect that which you worked hard to obtain. Simply letting the bullies take your stuff is a slippery slope to freezing in the cold while the grasshoppers party in your house through the winter. Have some self-respect, and draw the line. Don't let yourself be kicked around. Don't stomp on others, but definitely kick back hard if somebody stomps on you.

The government continues to want us to believe that "they" (the government) will protect us. The truth is, the police are more of a clean-up crew than a protective force.

Kill switches on iPads and iPhones may appear to negate the value of the device (while the muggings won't stop, they'll still jack you up for a wallet, watch, or Nike sneakers), but it opens the door to abuse where a cyber attack on the control system could render our legitimate mobile devices useless. Rather than try and reduce the value of our property, let's protect ourselves properly and reduce the overall operating risk of living in cities.

Crime can't be reduced to zero, but the "professional criminal" who has opted to pursue a living in crime (because the risk-reward ratio shows that crime does pay better than a minimum-wage job, especially in cities where victims aren't allowed to defend themselves with guns) will likely reconsider their career choice when the risk-reward ratio includes risking their own death or a murder charge in trade for a few hundred dollars. When it's simply "not worth it", most criminals move on to a different pursuit for sustenance. The sociopaths and mentally warped human monsters that prey upon us are statistically rare, but the common street thug who is stealing an iPad will become less common if you raise the difficulty above that of a legitimate job. These people often follow the path of least resistance. If we're making it too easy to be a criminal, you can't expect anything different than increased crime. If you make it much more dangerous to be a criminal, there will be less criminals.

What's Android's phone number anyway? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802773)

I was just wondering about this today -- if my Android phone got stolen, what do I do? Call up, ummm, Android and have them tell the police the exact phone coordinates and the police waltz over and get it, presumably using a tracking app on their own Android devices?

They better do something soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40802777)

Because I would totally kill for an iPhone 5

That's so cute they think this is new (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802851)

For nearly a decade, my neighborhood has seen people getting mugged for their iPhones almost nightly.

Basically: there's a public housing complex 2-3 stops up the line. Our neighborhood has a lot of affluent 20-30 year old professionals, grad students, etc.

Guess what? People who think the world Owes Them like an easy commute just as much as you do. They jump off the subway, walk up and down the street until they find someone, mug them, and run off - usually back onto the subway, or get picked up by a buddy a block or two over. In the time it takes to even find someone to call 911 for you, they could have walked several blocks and are effectively gone.

Apple is unique in that their devices are managed heavily by iTunes and their online systems. A blacklist could be implemented within months - Apple has plenty of inhouse resources to make it happen. They'd rather sell you a new phone - every theft is a new sale.

Re:That's so cute they think this is new (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803073)

For nearly a decade, my neighborhood has seen people getting mugged for their iPhones almost nightly.

iPhone was launched in 2007. Its 2012. How long has your neighborhood seen this now?

They would rather you be happy (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803181)

They'd rather sell you a new phone - every theft is a new sale.

If that were so why would Apple make "Find my iPhone" (or iPad) for all devices? They were among the first to do so.

Obviously Apple wants happy customers more than anything.

Re:That's so cute they think this is new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803997)

You know you've had a decade to have changes implemented. For somebody upset at others for thinking the world owes them, you seem to be a bit less than self-actualized.

At least the gun-toters want to put their plans into place themselves.

Though I think they'll find the criminals just strike first rather give them a chance to defend.

Theft as a marketing tool (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802945)

During the London riots last year (known amongst the police here as the "retail riots", for obvious reasons), the two safest places to be in London was either a Muslim area (because the rioters didn't want to pick on anybody who would fight back) -- and bookstores.

It's obvious. The criminals saw a collapse in law and order, and got the stuff they wanted -- sportswear, consumer electronics, anything desirable by the underclasses, and/or fenceable.

The funny thing is, Foot Locker and friends actually loved it. Their stuff is seen as desirable by gangstas and gangsta-wannabes, and being robbed in the riots added to their cachet and street credibility. People want their stuff badly enough to steal it. Much the same as how Nike actually loved it back in the day when kids were getting their heads blown off by muggers for their Nike Air Pumps. The retailers themselves didn't care -- they were insured, and got special help from the government and banks in any case.

Apple also benefit greatly when people get violently mugged for their stuff, so they have no incentive to do something about it. They win in many ways:

* They get cachet and marketing power by selling stuff that people consider worth stealing and robbing for. Apple get free publicity every time an iCrime story hits the news.
* They sell extra stuff to replace what's stolen
* Their carrier partners benefit from fraudulent charges

Why would Apple have it any different?

How About "We Already Do Enough?" (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802957)

In New York City alone, there were more than 26,000 incidents of electronics theft in the first 10 months of 2011

OHMYGODPANIC26,000ISABIGNUMBER!

Call it 30,000 per year at $200 per device average residual value. That's $6m per year. In a city of ten million, that's $0.60 per citizen, per year. The least expensive method of mitigating this problem may be to do no more than we are already doing. At $0.60 per year per person, do we really need to expend more resources on theft enforcement? Maybe we're doing well enough already.

Let's say you place some intangible value on the devices for the "sense of loss and invasion" that comes from stuff being stolen. Give it an outlandish price; call it $1000 total value per device. That's still only $3.00 per year per person.

People always talk about bloated government -- in the end, the only solution to bloated government is not asking for more government. Government is an important and necessary, but blunt weapon. At some level of enforcement you reach decreasing returns on a problem has been sufficiently solved. Enforcement is expensive; at some point, enough is enough.

Re:How About "We Already Do Enough?" (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803141)

in the end, the only solution to bloated government is not asking for more government.

The article doesn't ask for more government. It asks for better technology and better corporate policies to deter theft.

Re:How About "We Already Do Enough?" (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803837)

you've forgotten the unspoken second rule of american libertarianism: for anyone other than the Heroic Job Creators, anything other than passive consumption is tantamount to coercion.

Bullshit statistic (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about a year and a half ago | (#40802991)

So, how big is the iCrime wave? In New York City alone, there were more than 26,000 incidents of electronics theft in the first 10 months of 2011 — 81% involving mobile phones — according to an internal NYPD document.

So only ~20k thefts "involving a phone". How many involved an iPhone? How many of those were actually targeting the iPhone and not just a targeting a random person who happened to be carrying one?

The number of robberies in NYC has been declining steadily since the early nineties. Where the city used to experience 100k robberies a year, they're now down to around 20k. In short, there is no "iCrime Wave". Just the same robberies that have always been happening, only now victims happen to carry more valuables.

First start blocking phones by IMEI (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803037)

I understand that they are talking about networking and not the phone part. however:
First they should start blocking phones by IMEI when they are registered stolen. Only then will I believe they are interested what else they might be willing to do.

I am sure they will think of rooted devices as 'stolen' and block them. I am sure they they will think of other ways to block your device. e.g. when your contract is up, so you are forced to buy a new one. I am sure that if you resell it, it will be 'stolen' as well.

Obviously a company will check it all which will be owned and run by the companies, so phone users have no say in it.

So first start using something that is already available before you force some other patented crap that will take away any tiny bit of right we have might have left from us.

Re:First start blocking phones by IMEI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803609)

How do you prove that it is stolen and that you actually own the phone?

How does the phone company know that you are legitimate and not some being dishonestly bitchy and causing them to disable your ex-[girlfriend,boyfriend]s phone?

I'm sorry but... (4, Insightful)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803077)

A company I worked for a few years back (before the bastards laid off the entire *building*) had a contract to provide tech support to apple. At that time, there was absolutely no policies for handling items declared stolen. Unless things have changed since then, I call shenanigans.

Granted, they do now have that "Find my idevice" service, but thats a self serve feature that only works for the most recent generation of devices. You could just as easily use Prey, which works on all devices. IMO, they haven't done nearly enough to justify claiming they 'led the industry'.

Re:I'm sorry but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803611)

Most recent generation? Works fine on the iPhone 3GS from over three years ago.

Re:I'm sorry but... (1)

sessamoid (165542) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804053)

Most recent generation? Works fine on the iPhone 3GS from over three years ago.

No wonder they laid off his whole building.

iLawyers are needed - send for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803125)

iGrabit, iSue and iRun LLC

Ducks on a nun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803175)

I hate midgets. They're only good for kicking. Or letting them get fucked by an elephant.

AT&T is already doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803205)

Earlier this month, AT&T had launched a program that allowed users to report their device stolen. The IMEI of that device could be disabled from being used on AT&T. The blacklisted IMEIs exist with the FCC. Next year, msot of the major carriers will adopt this. The goal is to have this blacklist adopted worldwide.

One of the big pushes to do this is to deter these voilent thefts.

firearms (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803207)

I remember the same hoo-hah bullshit about theft of products off the streets during the late-80s and early-90s for Reebok and Nike shoes, and then later in the 90s of Allstar team jackets. There was the occasional murder. I'm sure it happened, but probably not to the same degree as this.

I think a lot of it is marketing - corporations taking advantage of crime to push their products' popularity. "They're such a valuable rarity that people have to steal them off the streets to be able to get them, they want them so bad. Good thing you can pick your's up for only slightly more at any Walmart/iStore near you!"

With the recent Aurora, CA dipshit shooting spree, there's been a lot of talk about guns and how they make people unsafe. The mayor of NYC said the police force should (would? I forget the specifics) strike unless all guns were banned and collected.

What I'm curious about is why you never hear about people being robbed on the streets of their guns, or of armed people being robbed. Many people carry them 24/7, and they're worth a lot more used than an Apple product is new ($600-1800, give or take, typically). They also have a lot more value in terms of a 'crime investment', supposedly, and can't be remotely disabled/locked by a cell carrier.

Why do you think this doesn't happen with guns carried on a person?

Re:firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803497)

Easy: Because any low-life piece of shit who's worthless enough to attack someone on the street to steal their things deserves to be shot in the face, and in that case would most likely end up getting shot in the face multiple times. As unpopular as this suggestion might be, anyone who is a thug, acts like a thug, or even wants to be a thug needs to be executed.

Re:firearms (0)

catmistake (814204) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803599)

What I'm curious about is why you never hear about people being robbed on the streets of their guns, or of armed people being robbed.

I see what you're trying to say there. Most who carry don't have a Wild West-style quick draw holster... so even if you carry a gun and are surprised by a robber at gun point, your gun isn't that much use if the 3 seconds it takes you to pull your weapon, flip the safety, and chamber a round is coincidentally the same time it takes for you to be shot dead 6 times. Contrary to the belief of those that carry, the chances of ever being able to use a gun successfully to defend against a crime is exceptionally rare. Statistically, it's on the order of ten times more likely your gun will accidentally hurt or kill you or a loved one than ever getting the opportunity to be used to defend against crime, let alone successfully.

That being stated, I believe the answer to your question is that, hopefully, those that carry are already concerned about crime and are more aware of their surroundings. Wisdom and mindfulness is far more beneficial to avoiding becoming a victim of crime than a gun. If your circumstances are that you must often be alone on dark city streets after midnight... consider learning the responsibility of and carrying a gun for protection. But if you are wise enough not to tempt fate, understand that nothing good ever happens after midnight, and consciously avoid putting yourself in vulnerable situations, you'll more than likely never need to worry about being victimized.

Re:firearms (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803969)

Statistically, it's on the order of ten times more likely your gun will accidentally hurt or kill you or a loved one than ever getting the opportunity to be used to defend against crime, let alone successfully.

The problem with that statistic is that we have no idea how often a gun is successfully used to defend against crime because a large number of the case never get reported (how large we have no way of knowing, since no one reports them). What is known is that criminals often choose not to commit crimes when they know that their target is armed with a gun. Most of the time when a gun is used to defend against crime it is not discharged

Re:firearms (0)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#40804069)

Gosh, don't tell the libertarians and gun nuts that the only proven way to fight crime is by properly funding law enforcement, and giving them the right tools to find the bad guys and crack their heads together. God no...

The mere suggestion that their puerile, simplistic view of the world is complete fantasy would be too much of a head-fuck for them.

Re:firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40804099)

Most who carries seriously carries with one in the chamber. The most commonly carried guns these days (Glocks) have no safety to flip. Your point still has value (that if you try to pull your gun while another is pointed at you you're probably going to get shot), just got back from the range so I'm in the mood to politely correct a minor gun mistake.

Just shoot dead the Bantu thief (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year and a half ago | (#40803233)

If you were CCing, that "back-up" Bantu gang would have been blood-puddles on the concrete. But, instead you were a lamby-pie **victim** ... how Bloomberg and his hoeing cosmopolitan Stalinists love **THAT**!

BlackBerry case for your iPhone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40803827)

Problem solved.

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