Items like the iPhone and the Kindle make it possible to cram books, music, pictures, and games into one single device with ease. With these devices closely linked to GPS and Internet, consumers would assume that locating these devices would be easy if stolen or lost. High tech gadget companies are telling consumers, think again.
Makers of these high tech devices have taken different approaches when it comes to handling theft and misplacement. Amazon’s Kindle is quickly becoming a favorite for techies but if it’s lost or stolen, well that’s a different story. According to Amazon, the only way the company will deactivate a stolen Kindle is with a phone call AND police report from the cops. This has outraged one customer in particular who said, “Amazon knew the device was being used and preferred to sell content to anyone who possessed the device, rather than assist in returning it to its rightful owner.” An Amazon spokesman replied, stating that the company acted in accordance with the law and cooperated with law enforcement officials. “Beyond that, we aren’t going to speculate on hypotheticals.“
Amazon is not the only company with this policy. Sirius XM Radio also needs a subpoena from a police officer before it can discontinue service or release information about one of it’s radios. Company spokesman Patrick Reilly said the goal of this policy is “to protect the original subscriber who has lost the radio, but also not to incriminate someone who legitimately comes in possession of a radio.” He added “Radios that have been reported stolen are reactivated only after someone provides a “proof of purchase,” like a receipt from eBay.”
iPhone users have a few more options when it comes to lost phones. Using GPS technology, iPhone users can attempt to track and locate a misplaced phone, or they can remotely wipe the phone clean of any sensitive information. Mark Siegal, a spokesman for AT&T, stated “When we address lost or stolen iPhones, all we’re focused on is preventing any charges from accruing to that account. We don’t disable the phone.”
With no policy changes in the works, consumers can look forward to years of frustration from high tech companies. Until then, I recommend being careful with your high tech toys.