San Francisco's DA wants anti-theft improvements for Windows Phone

What if you bought the upcoming $299 Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone on Friday, the day it officially goes on sale, only to have it stolen a few minutes after you purchased it? This is not an impossible scenario; thefts of all kinds of smartphones are increasing all over the country.

George Gascó, the district attorney for San Francisco, is helping to lead an effort to get the major smartphone hardware and software makers to put in features that would make such a device unusable to a thief. Techhive.com reports that this week, Apple and Samsung reps showed off their anti-theft measures to Gascó.

Apple's solution is requiring an user ID and password for any of their phones that have been locked, disabled or wiped. Samsung has put a new feature in the firmware of its Galaxy S4 smartphone that will let the owner of a stolen device track its location if the thief uses the phone on a wireless network.

Gascó said that while Apple and Samsung are trying to offer anti-theft improvements in their new smartphones, he added, "I am not sure that’s still the answer with Google and Microsoft and that’s why we’re going to continue to insist and work with them to move them forward." Gascó says that all four companies have a 2014 deadline to put in anti-theft features in their smartphones and hinted at possible legal consequences if those companies do not make progress in this matter.

Source: Techhive.com | Image via Nokia

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They're stupid... ALL WINDOWS PHONES ALREADY HAVE THIS.

Simply login to windowsphone.com, and you can ring your phone, lock your phone, or wipe your phone to render it useless.

My GF's stolen phone was a white Lumia 900 with a pink cover, grabbed from the table at a restaurant when we were not paying attention...

In other news, I look forward to Gasco pursuing government-mandated anti-theft controls on cars, laptops, tablets, bicycles, powertools, motorcycles, jewelry, luggage, purses, wallets, and any other Top 10 most-frequently stolen item that might get lifted in the great socialist kingdom of San Francisco.
Because y'know, with San Francisco having a violent crime rate 51% higher than the national average, petty theft really should to be the District Attorney's focus, shouldn't it? /s
http://shine.yahoo.com/work-mo...tems-country-021800509.html
http://www.city-data.com/crime...n-Francisco-California.html

I'm confused... My Lumia 900 lets me sign in to http://www.windowsphone.com track it's location and remote wipe it. There's even a option to allow MS to store the last few points it was located at so you can follow where it's been (rather then just given one point it's currently at)

I can also remote wipe it from the OWA of my Exchange account. So really I have two ways I can remotely wipe my device.

This is an older Windows Phone 7 device. Surely WP8 has the features above.

cloudstrife13 said,
I'm confused... My Lumia 900 lets me sign in to http://www.windowsphone.com track it's location and remote wipe it. There's even a option to allow MS to store the last few points it was located at so you can follow where it's been (rather then just given one point it's currently at)

I can also remote wipe it from the OWA of my Exchange account. So really I have two ways I can remotely wipe my device.

This is an older Windows Phone 7 device. Surely WP8 has the features above.


I think the issue here is that you don't need to sign into the device after it's wiped.

Could be but they said

Samsung has put a new feature in the firmware of its Galaxy S4 smartphone that will let the owner of a stolen device track its location if the thief uses the phone on a wireless network.
like it's a feature not on WP but it is.

The iPhone requiring an Apple ID after reported stolen, does this stick even if you put the iPhone into Recovery and reload iOS? If so I'll admit that's pretty awesome.

My GF's phone got stolen last week, a Lumia 900. But once the Sim is pulled out and/or the phone is reset, there is no way to trace or lock your phone. Microsoft should allow the phone to be searched by MAC or IMEI as long as you have it associated to your windowsphone account and/or have reported it as stolen. As soon as it's connecting to the Microsoft's infrastructure it must be pretty traceable.
Additionally the DA should focus on having the phone companies give the means to the police to send Text messages directly to the IMEI. A message every 10 seconds to a phone reported as stolen should be enough to render the whole phone stealing business useless.

Absolutely no need, the carriers should start implementing IMEI blocks like most other countries. I know they do this in australia and it renders the phone completely useless

Not much success here with that either. Apparently, the IMEI is burned onto an EEPROM and you can get the phone unblocked in under $5.

But windows phone already has the "find my phone" setting. Isn't that available in WP8? Because I have it on my Samsung Omnia W and find it very easy to use.

Mickez said,
But windows phone already has the "find my phone" setting. Isn't that available in WP8? Because I have it on my Samsung Omnia W and find it very easy to use.

Exactly. And the quote sounds like he doesn't know what's going on honestly... Bravo to Neowin though for extrapolating a sensational headline from his quote though.

Find my Phone on iOS (until iOS 7) and Windows Phone 8 stops working when the device is wiped. Thieves will often wipe a phone as soon as they steal it.

The new method in iOS 7 is to keep the phone unusable and trackable even if the device is wiped completely. That's what Windows Phone needs as well.

Rosyna said,
The new method in iOS 7 is to keep the phone unusable and trackable even if the device is wiped completely.

Are you sure? I thought they just password protected Find My Phone and iTunes will refuse to wipe/restore the OS unless it is unlocked. I not sure, but think this can be bypassed in DFU mode.

It cannot be bypassed, that's what the SFPD wanted. That's what the SFPD gets. They waned stolen iPhones to become useless.

Rosyna said,
Find my Phone on iOS (until iOS 7) and Windows Phone 8 stops working when the device is wiped. Thieves will often wipe a phone as soon as they steal it.

The new method in iOS 7 is to keep the phone unusable and trackable even if the device is wiped completely. That's what Windows Phone needs as well.


that's a double edge sword. what if I sell my iPhone, that means I can track the person who bought it every where? I hope what you say isn't true. besides all after realizing its stolen all I care about its my personal data. when its wiped what do I care? i get money from insurance and get a new one.

Shouldn't be waving your new device around like a noob, put it in your pocket like a normal person would, and if using it, hold it tight and pay attention to your surroundings, it's not hard to pinpoint the shady types

You have a point, but so does the DA. I'd like to see some more security features as well. Newer types of login (image and pattern based) would be one of them. It already has phone tracking via the web, but more options are never a waste in this case.

Thief000 said,
more options are never a waste in this case.

Most of the time, when someone has a phone 'stolen' its actually their own fault, left it on a bench or tablet and walked away, then someone picks it up *oh free phone*.

One of the big problems facing people who find a lost phone is getting it back to the owner. Mostly of the time they'll power it on to check if it works and if they're faced with a lock screen, that's pretty much it, there it little way for them to find the owners.
If its unlocked, most people will try calling one of the 'home' or 'parents' contacts. Everyone else will turn it off and wipe it/ebay it internationally.

So, for the most part, locked screens don't really help matters, they just increase the chance someone is going to offload it to ebay or what ever. It'd be more beneficial if the lock screen included a way to make a call, but only to a predefined number, such as your parents/partner's number. At least that way, there would be an immediate way of letting someone know the phone has been found, and given into the pub or what ever.

Correct, that's why MS should add back the owner information page that was in Windows Mobile. That contained user info like address and home phone number to be displayed on the lock screen. Such an option would be great for WP7&8.
However many people that do find new phones lying around don't return them to their rightful owners and simply remove the SIM. Like PeterF said, IMEI tracking would be a another great option to disallow such a practice without that person having to further tamper with the device.