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Police Urge Citizens: Register Your iPhones

new york police register iphones

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Uniformed New York police officers have been pitchmen for Apple in recent years, even asking citizens to register devices with the police department and turning over personal information.

Officers in uniform were caught handing out flyers to subway riders and pedestrians last year that promote new Apple software and security features, various news outlets reported. Specifically, the cops wanted citizens to download Apple’s new mobile device operating system, iOS7. The flyer also recommends that users take advantage of new security features.

The official reason for the flyer campaign was to make it easier for cops to track stolen iPhones which are apparently a big problem in the Big Apple.

The flyer begins: “Attention Apple Users!” It then contains information about the iOS update and then reads, “Register Your Devices With The NYPD’s Operation Identification Program.”

“Members of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau set up information tables at Apple and Best Buy stores in all five boroughs,” Sergeant Brendan Ryan told “Police suggested iPhone owners download iOS7, which has an upgraded ‘Find My iPhone’ program that makes it more difficult for thieves to turn off the security settings.”

New York officers also urged iPhone users in 2012 to register their devices.

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The iPhone 5s has a fingerprint security feature that was hacked days after its release by Germany’s Chaos Computer Club. The club called the sensor an illusion of security that could actually make phones easier to hack.

Police could easily force a person under interrogation to put his or her finger on the scanner and give them access to the phone, the Club noted on its website. If that wasn’t scary enough, a mugger or robber could also force a person to put a finger on the phone and open it.

“Biometrics is fundamentally a technology designed for oppression and control, not for securing everyday device access,” the Chaos Club stated on its website.

This isn’t the only controversy by New York’s government involving electronics. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted to fingerprint all 620,000 people living in public housing in New York and secure entrances to public housing projects with biometric locks.

Apple critic and U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) noted that the FBI has the authority to compel Apple to turn over fingerprint information.

Would you register your phone with your local town or city to help find it if it was stolen? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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