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London mayor asks Apple to help curb iPhone-related thefts

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London Mayor Boris Johnson has written to Apple and other smartphone manufacturers requesting help in curbing smartphone thefts in the capital. In London, 10,000 smartphones are stolen each month. V3 received a copy of Johnson's letter to Apple and other smartphone manufacturers; here are some highlights:

"We need the companies who manufacture and supply smartphones to play their part and take this issue seriously. If we are to deter theft and help prevent crimes that victimise your customers and the residents and visitors to our city, we need meaningful engagement from business and a clear demonstration that your company is serious about your corporate responsibility to help solve this problem."

"Each of your companies promote the security of your devices, their software and information they hold, but we expect the same effort to go into hardware security so that we can make a stolen handset inoperable and so eliminate the illicit second-hand market in these products. We hope you would support this objective. Customers and shareholders surely deserve to know that business cannot and must not benefit directly from smartphone theft through sales of replacement devices."

The good news for Johnson is that Apple is already working hard on curbing iPhone theft. With iOS 7, Apple will introduce Activation Lock, a feature that will require a user's Apple ID and password to reactivate a stolen phone after being remotely wiped by the owner through Apple's Find My iPhone app. Activation Lock will also require the user's login information to turn off Find My iPhone. It is hoped that once thieves are made aware of how pointless it will be to steal an iPhone with Activation Lock, they will stop targeting the devices so much. Activation Lock will also make it easier to track stolen iPhones.

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