Last week San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced they would be putting Apple's recently announced Activation Lock feature to test. Details of the tests remain private, but for now Gascón is saying that "clear improvements" have been made.
With the number of thefts involving mobile devices on the rise across the US, Gascón and Schneiderman's Secure Our Smartphones initiative is calling on device manufacturers and carriers to implement "kill switch" solutions that would render stolen devices useless, deterring criminals from stealing them. Alongside the announcement of iOS 7 at its developer conference last month, Apple unveiled the upcoming Activation Lock feature that seems to be exactly what Gascón and Schneiderman's coalition is looking for. Activation Lock works in conjunction with the already-present Find My iPhone feature. If an iPhone has Find My iPhone enabled when it gets wiped or reset, Activation Lock will require the Apple ID and password that were used to enable Find My iPhone before activating the phone. Such a feature should make iPhones less attractive to criminals looking to make a quick buck off of stolen devices.
Last Thursday, Apple and Samsung attended a meeting with Gascón and Schneiderman to demonstrate their upcoming theft deterrent technologies. A group of technical experts also present were asked to do their best to circumvent the anti-theft technology on the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4. Since Activation Lock is still in beta and under Apple's NDA (non-disclosure agreement), Gascón is unable to share the details of the tests, but did tell SF Examiner, "I'm very optimistic that they came and were willing to share their technology with us."
How attractive will the Activation Lock feature be to you? Have you been the victim of an iPhone theft?