Government officials are teaming up with local law enforcement to call on phone manufacturers to add a new feature that would hopefully deter smartphone theft.
Officials, including state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Police Commissioner William Bratton, are pushing for a process that makes the device useless if stolen.
Schneiderman said that selling stolen phones has become big business because they can easily be cleaned and activated on another plan.
"What we need is a kill switch that enables you to clean the information off your phone and cancel it like a credit card once it's stolen. Very simple," Schneiderman said. "That will remove the incentive for anyone to steal a smartphone."
"They're making $30-, $40-, maybe $50 billion a year on the new phone sales, all the apps that have to be re-created," Bratton said. "They're making a fortune on this, and they don't want to lose it. Well, shame on them."
"Continue dialogue to see if folks do this on their own, but if they don't do it on their own, then we need legislation that will mandate that they do it," said Rep. Jose Serrano of the Bronx.
Schneiderman said that a group of advocates for the feature met last June with phone company representatives, but no agreement was reached.