| NEW YORK, April 4
NEW YORK, April 4 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
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)