Smartphone Theft Increases, Spiking Robbery & Theft Rates
Not only are stolen smartphones worth a lot of plain money, but they are said to be more than a wallet, tablet or laptop partially resulting from the amount of information stored on them. In February 2014, the Smartphone Theft Protection Act reported that smartphone theft cost consumers more than $30 billion every year and further endangered them.
It has been reported that nearly $580 million is spent annually replacing stolen phones and $4.8 billion for premium cell phone insurance. Through recent surveys, analysts have found that 83% of theft victims believed a “kill switch” would deter theft and 93% stated it should not be an additional charge if created.
According to Federal Communications Commission data, nearly one third of all theft is related to smartphone theft. In big cities like New York and San Francisco, smartphone thefts account for 50% of all robberies. Oakland accounts 75% of robberies to be tied to smartphone theft. It is expected to continuously escalate as long as the devices are still functional.
”Kill Switch” Solution Offers Hope, CTIA Says No
The kill switch would allow the consumer to wipe their personal data off the phone, make the phone permanently inoperable to anyone but the owner and prevent it from being reactivated on a network by anyone but the owner. The kill switch could save smartphone owners tons of money annually, as well as offer the protection they seek. However, the problem of creating said solution is that lawmakers have not gained support from carriers and CTIA. CTIA states that a national database of stolen cellphones is a better suited solution because it provides less vulnerability to privacy issues like hacking.
CTIA Vice President of Government Affairs, Jot Carpenter stated:
“Rather than impose technology mandates, a better approach would be to enact Senator Schumer’s legislation to criminalize tampering with mobile device identifiers. This would build on the industry’s efforts to create the stolen device databases; give law enforcement another tool to combat criminal behavior; and leave carriers, manufacturers, and software developers free to create new, innovative loss and theft prevention tools for consumers who want them.”