UK police pushing Apple and Samsung to put passwords on all new phones

Even the government's getting involved


The issue of mobile phone security is heating up, and by way of response the Metropolitan police has been pushing for phone manufacturers to place mandatory passwords on their devices.

Senior officers from the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (yes, that does exist) have been discussing the prospect with companies such as Apple and Samsung, and even the government, according to The Register.

The idea is that phone will be sold with a pincode pre-set on the device, in the hope that it will encourage users to maintain some security on their smartphones.

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"We are trying to get [passwords] to be set as a default on new phones, so that when you purchase it you will physically have to switch the password off, rather than switch it on," a spokesperson told the site.

Unlocked potential

What's perhaps most surprising is that the talks have been taking place for two years, but apparently the idea has gained "a lot of traction".

The logic behind all of this is certainly sound: the sheer amount of personal information potentially available to the thief of an unlocked phone should be a concern to anyone.

But this may just be one facet of the solution. Thomas Labarthe, managing director Europe for mobile security company Lookout commented: "I expect to see more manufacturers adopt what Apple has done with TouchID."

He added: "Phone theft needs to be tackled from multiple angles to really put a damper on the smartphone black market. The goal is to make it harder for the bad guys to profit from stealing phones."

Samsung has confirmed that it's working with the Home Office on the issue, and we've contacted some other manufacturers to ask whether this might be a possibility in the future. We'll let you know if we get any interesting responses.