Met police call for compulsory smartphone PINs

November 11, 2014 : TECHFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Met police call for compulsory smartphone PINs

We all value our privacy, and when so much of our personal lives can be revealed through a quick glance through our smartphones, it's understandable that many of us choose to take simple steps to keep prying eyes away from our personal texts, pictures and browsing history.

These days, there's plenty of options as well, so even if you struggle to remember a four-digit PIN, you've got the choice of pattern swipes, facial recognition or even a fingerprint scanner to unlock your phone.

But despite this, many people still refuse to password-protect their gadgets, despite the dangers. For some consumers, the inconvenience of having to unlock their handset every time they get a text or WhatsApp message is apparently just too much.

That's why one police force in the UK is pushing to change this, by making it mandatory for users to pick a password when they get a new phone. According to the Register, the Metropolitan Police's National Mobile Phone Crime Unit has been lobbying phone makers and the government for the last two years in a bid to make this happen.

It claims up to 60 per cent of phones currently don't have a password, which offer a treasure trove of information to criminals, should it fall into the wrong hands.

Head of the department Detective Chief Inspector Bob Mahoney told the publication: "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."

He explained unlocked phones can give people access to details such as a user's home address, home telephone number, their partner's details, diary, Facebook and Twitter account. Criminals could use this information for everything from planning a burglary to taking out bank loans in someone else's name.

With phone theft on the rise in the UK, anything that can be done to deter criminals could help save many people the hassle and distress that comes with a stolen phone. Indeed, London mayor Boris Johnson has already backed calls for smartphones to come with a default 'kill switch' that can stop them working when they are reported stolen.

This entry was posted in TECH and tagged on by sarahstooks
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