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Samsung adding anti- theft solutions to smartphones

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Samsung Electronics will add two safeguards to its latest smartphone in an effort to deter rampant theft of the mobile devices nationwide, the company said Friday.

The world's largest mobile-phone maker said users will be able to activate for free its "Find My Mobile" and "Reactivation Lock" anti-theft features to protect the soon-to-be-released Galaxy 5 S.

The features that will lock the phone if there's an unauthorized attempt to reset it will be on models sold by wireless carriers Verizon and U.S. Cellular. The phones go on sale next week.

"Samsung takes the issue of smartphone theft very seriously, and we are continuing to enhance our security and anti-theft solutions," the company said in a statement.

The announcement comes as San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and other U.S. law enforcement officials demand that manufacturers create kill switches to combat surging smartphone theft across the country.

Earlier this week, California legislators introduced a bill that, if passed, would require mobile devices sold in or shipped in the state be equipped with the anti-theft devices starting next year - a move that could be the first of its kind in the United States. Similar legislation is being considered in New York, Illinois, Minnesota, and bills have been introduced in both houses of Congress.

In July, Samsung officials told Gascon's office that the major carriers were resisting using kill switches. However, Gascon and Schneiderman said in a joint statement Friday that Samsung's latest move sends a strong message that the wireless industry can work together to make consumers safe. The prosecutors have given the manufacturers a June deadline to find solutions to curb smartphone theft.

"More work needs to be done to ensure that these solutions come standard on every device, but these companies have done the right thing by responding to our call for action," the prosecutors said. "No family should lose a mother, a father, a son or a daughter for their phone. Manufacturers and carriers need to put public safety before corporate profits and stop this violent epidemic, which has put millions of smartphone users at risk."

Apple created a similar "activation lock" feature for the popular iPhone last year.

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Almost one in three U.S. robberies involve phone theft, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Lost and stolen mobile devices - mostly smartphones - cost consumers more than $30 billion in 2012, the agency said in a study.

CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group for wireless providers, has said a permanent kill switch has serious risks, including potential vulnerability to hackers who could disable mobile devices and lock out not only individuals' phones but also phones used by entities such as the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and law enforcement.

The association created a national stolen phone database last year to remove any market for stolen smartphones.

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Follow Terry Collins at: https://twitter.com/aptcollins

Join the discussion

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frozenbull April 06 2014 at 5:24 AM

Street thugs don't ask if you have anti theft software on your phone before they knock you in the head and steal your phone . If they don't see it, they won't look to steal it. It's a crime of opportunity . Try putting away your phone for ten minutes while you walk to the train station or to work or whatever . Bet it works better than anti theft software . And it doesn't cost anything !

Flag Reply +3 rate up
hhendrix April 05 2014 at 12:43 PM

Welll DUH. Consumer protection could cost the manufacturers $30 billion in sales. No surprise they are dragging their feet, kicking and screaming all the way.

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1 reply
banche2x hhendrix April 06 2014 at 2:26 AM

Again proof of corporate GREED !!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
The Texas Cowboy April 05 2014 at 6:22 PM

Seems the spending never ends when purchasing a cell phone, they will always be coming out with a new model that does this or that , which of course the cell that you are now carring doesn't do & of course there is always the "sheep" thats going to buy what ever they are selling at the present time, all I have ever required out a cell phone is can I make a call does it recieve a call, if it will do that, then thats is all that I'm concerned about.................just my dimes worth.................

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1 reply
kkollins1 The Texas Cowboy April 06 2014 at 1:15 AM

ditto ....

Flag Reply +3 rate up
moon4hym April 06 2014 at 2:22 AM

""Welll DUH."" ALL APPLIES TO GUN MANUFACTURERS, not just gadgets. ""Consumer protection could cost the manufacturers..No surprise they are dragging their feet, kicking and screaming all the way, resisting using kill switches.." these companies have done the right thing by responding to our call for action," the prosecutors said "NO FAMILY SHOULD LOSE A MOTHER, A FATHER, A SON, OR A DAUGHTER..." "Manufacturers and carriers need to put public safety before corporate profits and stop this VIOLENT EPIDEMIC, which has put millions at risk.""
.. .latest move sends strong message that industry can work together to make consumers safe. Prosecutors have given the manufacturers a June deadline to find solutions...Apple created a similar "activation lock" feature for the popular iPhone last year.
WONDER WHAT DERRANGED, ALCOHOLIC TYPISTS, WHO'S MOTHER'S NEVER HELD THEM, WILL FOAM AT THE TYPING-MOUTH.. "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!"

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1 reply
Burr moon4hym April 06 2014 at 4:15 AM

What were you smoking when writing this?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
John Johnson April 06 2014 at 2:56 AM

Guns save many many more lives than the misuse of them takes.Get a clue,read John Lott "More Guns Less Crime"

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
Yaki John Johnson April 06 2014 at 3:08 AM

The socialists here and around the country don't want to hear the truth.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
frozenbull John Johnson April 06 2014 at 5:27 AM

Tell that to the Sandy Hook parents .

Flag Reply +1 rate up
JudgeJoe77 April 06 2014 at 12:27 AM

Gonna buy me one of those new Samsung Smart Phones at Verizon, I reckon.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
glthm8 April 06 2014 at 12:26 AM

"Looking for sane people"

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Rick Suddes April 06 2014 at 12:02 AM

I have two Galaxy 3 phones, purchased in September 2013, I hope they will have an up grade
for my phones!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
lngfoto April 05 2014 at 12:50 PM

I used a cheap a$$ phone, but they could make those phone safer, if you could be kill, by someone, it is not a good thing. Let make them safer, they could. But they make more money by selling you another phone, to replace your stolen phone.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
banche2x lngfoto April 06 2014 at 2:25 AM

If you have total insurance you don't have too pay for a new one!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
hairoller April 05 2014 at 10:35 PM

"Do not steal," the 6th commandment. This progressive liberal society needs to go back to religion.

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2 replies
glthm8 hairoller April 05 2014 at 11:13 PM

You need to stop following blindly and im more progressive and liberal than some and im not dishonest. you are stereotyping people. and what do you mean by liberal? i dont believe in abortion, illegal immigration, and i feel we should disband the money system alltogether cause it creates this kind of mess. you are not too bright if you think religion is going to fix this. it hasnt yet

Flag Reply +2 rate up
CHRISLA hairoller April 06 2014 at 3:30 AM

shut up about your stupid religion

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1 reply
cact25 CHRISLA April 06 2014 at 4:35 AM

You should just shut up until you find something that borders on intelligent to say!

Flag +2 rate up
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