Solution to phone theft coming

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Everyone knows someone who has lost a cellphone, either through theft or through simple carelessness.

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Of course a phone left anywhere—in a fastfood joint, a taxi, or a hotel, etc.—will invariably be found. The finder who makes little or no effort to find the rightful owner then justifies keeping the lost phone can be considered a party to its theft.

Whether the finder eventually uses it, sells it, or gives it away, he or she would have surrendered the chance of doing the right thing of taking some effort to find the owner. It would not be too hard. All the finder has to do is to contact anyone who has been the recipient of a recent call or text, and say that the unit is now with him/her and to please tell the owner to get in touch immediately.

Some “finders” justify their keeping the unit by blaming the original owner of being careless. What’s the old saying? Finders keepers, losers weepers.

Think that cellphone theft or loss is unique to the Philippines? Think again. In the United States, nearly one out of every three robberies involves cellphones. This, according to the Federal Communications Commission which said that two years ago, lost and/or stolen mobile devices (mostly smartphones) cost American consumers more than $30 billion.

That’s a lot of lost iPhones, Galaxies and the like, huh?

Now, Samsung Electronics—officially the world’s largest manufacturer of cellphones—has come up with not one but two safeguards in its units to prevent or at least deter rampant theft of the device that practically everyone owns.

In Samsung’s soon-to-be-released Galaxy 5 S, the company has embedded its “Find My Mobile” and “Reactivation Lock” anti-theft features. The features lock the phone if there’s an attempt to reset it.

Here in the Philippines, most malls have gadget shops that offer unlocking services. It is no secret that some consumers who seek to unlock the phones in their possession are doing so because they are not the original owners. Whether the units are stolen or found does not matter to the local technicians, who claim to be able to unlock any brand of cell phone from any country.

Cell phone theft has become such a problem in the U.S. that federal authorities have been clamoring for cell phone manufacturers to create kill switches as one potentially powerful deterrent.

Those kill switches should also be installed in tablets, phablets, laptops and the like.

To be sure, iPhones and iPads have their own safety features, but so far these have not stopped thieves from eyeing the easy-to-resell gizmos.

If the Samsung safeguards prove to be more effective, then the company can expect to eat up a bigger chunk of the market. The other big manufacturers are then expected to come up with their own anti-theft protection, which can only bode well for consumers.

Still, the best way to prevent loss or theft of one’s precious cell phone is to exercise maximum care. Especially for the more expensive units, avoid using them in unsafe areas. You know where they are.

Quote of the week:
“All our lauded technological progress—our very civilization—is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal.” – Albert Einstein

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