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Schneiderman co-hosts tech test of security features on smartphones

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 18, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Thursday co-hosted a test of security features on the latest smartphones.

During a meeting held in San Francisco, Schneiderman joined San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and federal and state security experts to test the features recently introduced by Apple and Samsung as part of the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative.

In June, Schneiderman and Gascón announced the formation of SOS to encourage the smartphone industry to implement meaningful solutions to end what they described as the "national epidemic" of violent smartphone and tablet thefts.

"Finding technical solutions that will remove the economic value of stolen smartphones is critical to ending the national epidemic of violent street crimes commonly known as 'Apple Picking,'" the two said in joint statement.

"With roughly 113 smartphones stolen or lost each minute in the United States, and too many of those thefts turning violent or deadly, the Secure our Smartphones Initiative is committed to ensuring the industry does everything it can to make their products and their customers safe."

They continued, "While we are appreciative of the efforts made by Apple and Samsung to improve security of the devices they sell, we are not going to take them at their word."

At the meeting, technical experts were given an Apple iPhone 5 with a new anti-theft security feature called Activation Lock enabled and a Samsung Galaxy S4 with a new anti-theft security feature called Lojack for Android enabled.

The smartphones were to be treated as if they were stolen and efforts were made to disable or circumvent the anti-theft features.

"Today we will assess the solutions they are proposing and see if they stand up to the tactics commonly employed by thieves," Schneiderman said earlier Thursday.

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