Skip to main content

Met police want compulsory smartphone PINs

The UK metropolitan police force is looking to protect your iPhones and Galaxy S5 smartphones by trying to get Samsung and Apple to make smartphone and tablet pins obligatory.

The Met's National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) is behind the initiative The Register has reported, the force having lobbied Apple and Samsung for two years now. Compulsory pins would make it tough for criminals to gain access to stolen devices straight off. According ot NMPCU stats, 60 per cent of phones do not have PIN protection.

The police force wants to make password protection opt-out, rather than opt-in, in the smartphone's factory settings, DCI Bob Mahoney told The Register.

Read more: A guide to keeping your Android smartphone or iPhone safe

"We have been talking to the industry and government. This is one of the main ideas among a range of measures we are trying to push to protect personal data. All of the industry has been engaged at all levels - and government too."

Granted, a passcode can be annoying, but surely it's worth it to stop thieves using the device after pinching it? Sadly, laziness could well be the reason why so many don't set up a PIN, and the police seem to have cottoned on to this.

"On an unlocked phone, you can find a person's home address, home telephone number, their partner's details, diary, Facebook and Twitter account," Mahoney continued.

Read more: You are your phone: Why smartphone security is of paramount importance

"This allows thieves to know when a target is not going to be at home or perhaps use their details to set up banking loans. They could destroy a person's life."

Image: Ervins Strauhmanis, Flickr