Area politicians want smartphone manufacturers to install technology to prevent thefts

Apr 11, 2014

Several local politicians, including Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appeared at city hall in downtown Syracuse to throw their support behind the federal Smartphone Theft Prevention Act.

The act would require smartphone makers to install a “kill switch” on their devices that would allow customers to delete data and deactivate their phone remotely.

Schneiderman says the major manufactures have the technology to do this but are choosing not to.

“We discovered that they were making $30 billion a year, the manufacturers, replacing lost and stolen smartphones,” said Schneiderman, “and that seems to us to probably be a more serious reason for their reluctance than concern over customer choice.”

Maffei, a co-sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives, says the legislation is meant to pressure the manufacturers.

“If the companies won’t do it themselves then we’ve got to make sure people are protected. I’m hopeful that they will, I think that they will see that we’re serious and they will,” said Maffei.

Syracuse Chief of Police Frank Fowler was also at the announcement and says the number of cellphone robberies has been increasing for the past three years, even as the number of total robberies in the city decreases.