The phone-locking kill switch has been widely hailed as a powerful deterrent to phone theft. This month, California became the first state to require that new smartphones be sold with such technology enabled by default. Introduced by Apple Inc. in September 2013, it has shown promise in reducing rampant iPhone robbery in cities like San Francisco, New York and London.
But new phone-theft data collected by The Wall Street Journal, and the appearance of so-called bricked phones for sale online, suggest that at least some thieves aren’t deterred by the anti-theft technology.
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