Officials praise Samsung's Galaxy S5 antitheft features

NEW YORK, April 4 Fri Apr 4, 2014 1:15pm EDT

NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - A move by Samsung to include free anti-theft features on its Galaxy S5 smartphones sold by Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular won praise on Friday by two U.S. members of an international coalition aimed at combating robberies involving smartphones.

The new features allow Galaxy S5 users to track devices and require the owner's account information to reset the phone. The features, Find My Mobile, and Reactivation Lock, will come installed in the phones but must be activated by users.

"The decision ... to provide Samsung's Find My Mobile and Reactivation Lock features on Galaxy S5 smartphones and to allow those features to be activated for free is a step forward in our effort to ensure the industry makes effective theft deterrents available on every smartphone sold in America," New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, and San Francisco's district attorney, George Gascon, said in a statement.

Schneiderman and Gascon, along with London Mayor Boris Johnson, are co-chairs of the coalition Secure Our Smartphone Initiative.

They said, however, that they remain "concerned that consumers will need to opt in to the system, thereby limiting the ubiquity and effectiveness of the solution."

Both Schneiderman and Gascon have criticized the cellphone industry for what they say is a perceived unwillingness to solve an escalating theft problem.

Schneiderman has publicly supported bills currently in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would require a kill switch to be installed in every smartphone manufactured in the United States. The switch would prevent the phone from being re-activated in the black market.

In 2012, 1.6 million Americans were victimized for their smartphones, according to Schneiderman's office. (Reporting by Marina Lopes; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Comments (1)
Selfie13 wrote:
It really blows my mind when I see these type of headlines in the tech news industry, and by that I mean, 1. It seems a feature is never recognized in the tech industry until either Samsung or Apple enables feature for their devices, 2.) And then tech journalist repost same headline and story on every blog/website. Point- Windows Phone has had this feature since early 2011 called “Find My Phone” which I had to use one day and I got my phone back. Also you can wipe youre device remotely or send an alarm notification, and its all available at windowsphone.com. So why is Samsung being praised for this?

Apr 05, 2014 7:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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