Monday, January 30, 2012

Stolen phones

With the increase in crime and along with it - stolen phones, I am puzzled that even with built-in GPS, the police can’t track the phones - like, er, well, on the TV shows, where the perp is tracked down by cell phone pings. Apparently this only works on TV for the most part and even Snopes themselves are confused over what can and cannot be done with built in GPS. The phone companies seem to hold the key and they are unwilling to make cell phone thefts unprofitable by making the phones traceable or simply locking out the device.

Just  one day after an 11-year old was robbed of her smart phone right outside Alice Deal Middle School in Northwest DC, it has happened again.

On Wednesday, another young student had her phone taken while she walked through Fort Reno, right by her school. In both cases, police say a young man ran past the victims, snatched the smart phone and took off running. Investigators say the two incidents could be related. Police say this is part of a larger trend where crooks of all ages are stealing smart phones and selling them on the black market.

DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said smart phone thefts are up across the District, and she isn't getting any help from the phone companies in battling the problem.

Lanier spoke to a group of citizens this week where she said, "I spoke to the head of security at Apple and said, can't you disable these phones permanently when they are stolen to take the profit out of the market for the bad guy? They said, well we can but we're about customer service, and we like to give customer service when they call."

Along with this, what I would like Siri to be able to do - or what I would like to be able to say to her if my iPhone were stolen (if I had an iPhone, that is): “Active self destruct sequence.”

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