In what can be seen as the offer of an olive branch to legislators, Samsung announced that it is adding two new security features to its forthcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone that could bring down the growing number of mobile thefts in the country.
Phone manufacturers and carriers have been under pressure from authorities to incorporate kill switches in their products in order to prevent the widespread trend of mobile phone thefts, which cost consumers around $30billion in 2012. Last year, all the major US cities reported an increase in handheld device thefts, despite law enforcement agencies taking notice of the situation.
However, last week, reports emerged that several states are seriously considering the idea of passing a bill that would require all mobile phones to have anti-theft devices, after which Samsung – which relies heavily on its American sales – has sprung into action.
The world's biggest phone manufacturer will be shipping its Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones with two new features. The first one, "Find My Mobile," will let users trace their phones, enforce a lock and then make it ring at its loudest for one minute even if it's set on silent.
And to make sure that thieves don't get to disable "Find My Mobile," the company has also introduced a feature called "Reactivation Lock," which locks down the phone as soon as an unauthorized attempt to disable its security options or reset it is made.
While Samsung's gesture looks promising, similar features have existed on iPhones for a while now, and they haven't been effective in preventing mobile-related crimes. Skeptics also believe that it is just an attempt to pacify government officials like San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, both of whom have demanded the introduction of kill switches in the phone industry.
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