The epidemic of cell phone theft | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Filipinos should support a campaign in the United States to get mobile phone manufacturers to install a “kill switch” in their products.


As reported by Herb Weisbaum, NBC News contributor, the switch would render a phone completely inoperable and useless to anyone, anywhere in the world. American law enforcers and prosecutors launched the Secure Our Smartphones (SOS) Initiative because of the increasing violence associated with thefts of mobile devices.


In the US, as in the Philippines, people are getting seriously injured, even killed, for their smartphones and other gadgets. Weisbaum said US law enforcers described the situation as an “epidemic.”


If Americans are concerned, despite the efficiency of their law enforcement, then Filipinos have more reason to fear. Weisbaum said, “The theft of mobile devices…is now called ‘the fastest-growing street crime’ in America. People across the country have been stabbed and mugged at gunpoint for their electronic devices, which are easy to resell.”


That is the situation in the Philippines now.


Weisbaum said, “SOS wanted a hardware solution that cannot be circumvented by hackers.” He said the technology “would disable the device even if it’s turned off, the SIM card is removed or the phone is modified to avoid detection.”


The problem, of course, is that, while there are many reasonably priced units in the market, people want well-known but more expensive brands and will buy anything at a “bargain,” even if it is obviously feloniously obtained.


It is really the name rather than the features they are after. Otherwise, they should be able to find quite easily the gadget with all the things they really want and need at a fraction of the cost of high-end brands.


Our own MyPhone, for instance, offers a wide variety of products with features that foreign brands do not even have, and they are very affordable. I know people who never miss an episode of their favorite soap because MyPhone has television.


Truly automatic


I must confess I myself tend to favor well-known brands, primarily because I believe their after-sales service is better. But I always have a problem with TV sets; automatic programming leaves much to be desired.


I spend a considerable amount of time manually adjusting the TV channels so they match the cable network lineup. Usually, after programming my few favorite channels, I don’t bother with the rest anymore to spare myself further aggravation. But my newest TV, a well-known brand, completely defeated me. I had to call the company’s technician to do the programming.


I was, therefore, surprised to find out that Devant TVs deliver on their promise of autoprogramming. Everything falls into place without manual adjustments. Other features seem to be no different from those of other brands. I like that Devant TVs have switches that completely turn off the units, even if you do not unplug them, instead of leaving them on standby, which wastes electricity.


The TVs are priced way below well-known brands because, according to Lara Marie T. Lua, marketing manager, they want to make it easier for Filipinos to own big-screen units.


Devant operates its own service centers—one in Binondo and another in Cebu, so far. This should be good news to prospective buyers, because, based on personal experience, I find that some “authorized” service centers do not do as good a job as those actually run by the company.


Incidentally, Devant is not a completely unknown entity. Many Filipino consumers have been enjoying an older product, the NextBase portable DVD player.




Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected].

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