The Metropolitan police in London are making moves to lobby for a change in the law which would require all smart phones to be password or pass code protected. The move is intended not only to deter phone theft, but also to help curb the growing problem of identity theft.
As smart phones have become integral to day-to-day life, the amount of personal and sensitive information kept on them has increased. This often means that a victim of phone theft not only has the headache of replacing a handset, but if their phone is not protected, they face the greater problem of important information falling into the wrong hands.
The proposals are that phones should have a pass code or password added as a default. Internal research from the Metropolitan Police's National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, suggests that up to 60% of handsets are currently unprotected, leaving vast swathes of information at the mercy of potential phone thieves. Police are optimistic that the change would see phone theft fall further as thieves would be put off stealing phones which would be unusable without the relevant codes.
Major manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple, already have remote wipe capabilities on their new phones, allowing victims to securely wipe all information from a stolen handset. The Met are hopeful that with mandatory passwords, it won't be long till everyone is able to make use of this facility.