Apple introduced a variety of new features in iOS 7, and one that has attracted much attention is the Activation Lock. The Activation Lock is used to prevent Find My iPhone from being deactivated, which means the iPhone can still be located and remotely wiped. Currently, if someone finds an iPhone I lost, for example, they can easily connect to iTunes and restore my iPhone to factory settings. With Activation Lock, there isn’t a way to get past the Apple ID page, which not only prevents restores through iTunes, but also prevents the 3G or WiFi network from being disabled.
Some kind of network connectivity is required to locate or restore. According to a report from CNET, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are going to be testing the new Activation Lock on iOS 7 to see if it truly does work. They will reportedly be bringing in security experts from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to do everything possible to get past the Activation Lock on the iPhone and Samsung’s Lojack feature on the Galaxy S4.
This shows just how serious the government is about ensuring thefts of mobile devices are curbed and personal information is secured, especially now that multiple airlines and even some government agencies have switched to the iPhone and iPad as their primary devices. There have been hundreds of iPhones and other mobile devices stolen in subways and other public areas. So, as WiFi becomes standard in places such as the New York City subway and more devices are being used, it is of the utmost importance that the government take these measures.
Anti-theft features in the operating systems of smartphones have become increasingly important over that last few years, as this slowly becomes a nationwide concern. As a result, the government has been getting more directly involved in the business processes of U.S mobile carriers, smartphone manufacturers, and their hardware and software development. Apple has been very serious about securing personal information as well, and shares the same concerns as the U.S government. This was made clear when a director at the Department of Justice implied that Apple’s iPhones were a little “too secure.” This latest test of the iOS 7 Activation Lock is only the beginning of government involvement in smartphone hardware and software development as privacy becomes more and more a nationwide issue.