Does MobileMe's Find My iPhone lead to potential bodily harm?

Does MobileMe's Find My iPhone lead to potential bodily harm?

Summary: I am not a MobileMe subscriber because I found I never used it when I did subscribe back when it launched. If you have an iPhone there is a new service called Find My iPhone that provides you with ways to track a lost iPhone. I just read this real-life story of how a lost iPhone was recovered, but do not recommend people take this much direct action to recover a lost iPhone. Remember, it is just a phone and can be replaced and even wiped clean too.

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I am not a MobileMe subscriber because I found I never used it when I did subscribe back when it launched. If you have an iPhone there is a new service called Find My iPhone that provides you with ways to track a lost iPhone. I just read this real-life story of how a lost iPhone was recovered, but do not recommend people take this much direct action to recover a lost iPhone. Remember, it is just a phone and can be replaced and even wiped clean too.

The post author and his buddies used a laptop and Sprint wireless modem to track down his lost iPhone using the Find My iPhone service and were luckily able to recover the iPhone safely. The thing is, do you really want to go face-to-face with the thief who took your iPhone? Even though I am a pretty big dude, I don't really value my phones that much and probably would not have gone as far as these guys. Also, do NOT call 911 if you lost your dang phone. The police have more important problems to worry about than recovering your lost or stolen phone.

Would you go this far to get back your iPhone? If people continue to use the service in this manner, I wonder if Apple will shut it down because it is too dangerous.

Topics: Telcos, iPhone, Mobile OS, Mobility

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27 comments
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  • Isn't there a middle ground?

    You don't have to call 911 to report a crime. Can't you just call the police on their non-emergency line to report it stolen? Then you just have to hope that your local police care enough to spend any time tracking down a single, relatively inexpensive item. :)

    Hehe, I could also see a business opportunity here. You could sell your services as an iPhone recovery bodyguard. [i]For $99, we'll escort you to the thief and get your phone back![/i] :)
    NonZealot
    • Depends on the locality

      At my parent's house, whenever I asked for the non-emergency police number, they (the authorities, not my parents) would just say to dial 911 anyway and tell them the problem and let the 911 operator decide whether it was an emergency or not. I remember one time I called the fire department for a basement flood thinking it was a non-emergency (it was nothing more than lost Christmas decorations as far as I was concerned) and was chastised for not calling it in as an emergency.
      Michael Kelly
  • well, one or the other...

    I'm either getting my phone back or getting the police to do it (most likely the latter). If they feel too busy to do it, like someone just got shot, they won't do it.
    gtvr
  • Race Issues

    First he offers $50 reward for the phone back.

    Then he finds out the phone is in a Puerto Rican neighborhood.

    The next messate he sends is "Call me or I'm calling the cops" in spanish. What, no $50 reward for the Puerto Ricans?

    Heh.
    ModernMech
    • They're Worth That Much?

      They're only worth $3.50 here.
      itanalyst2@...
  • It'd be better to be able to remotely make it an iBrick.

    No danger hunting it down that way.

    It might also go with an option to restore it if brought in by the registered owner.
    Letophoro
    • Agreed.

      +1

      As much as kills witches are controversial, we the owners have a right to execute one if it is lost. We don't want fraudulent bills racked up in our names.
      HypnoToad72
  • Wow, I'm Glad You Can Do This With Windows Mobile!!

    Oh wait..you can't.

    BUWAHAHAHAHAH!!!
    itanalyst2@...
    • Yes you can do it with Windows Mobile... Free!!!

      Grow up and get a life. To help you, I'll let you learn Google and figure out how to do it yourself.
      Narg
      • Don't Pick On The Mac Fan Bois

        Honestly, it's not as if they can really help being mentally deficient, indignant, pissy little snits with the maturity of your average Ritalin deficient tweenage muppet f*ck. The best thing you can do is to ask for their parents address so that you can send them a bill for your online babysitting services (I've actually done that before btw...and actually got money in return).
        Onideus_Mad_Hatter
        • Best response I've seen.

          Thanks for the chuckle.
          :)
          YepThatsMe
  • RE: Does MobileMe's Find My iPhone lead to potential bodily harm?

    Back in 1991 - 1993 I worked for a company called Airtouch Teletrac. We monitored our customers' vehicles for them (via our own terrestrial-based location system).

    When we received an alarm or a customer would call in to say that their vehicle (car, boat motorcycle, etc) was stolen, we would interface with law enforcement on behalf of the customer. This was done to prevent exactly the situation described here: the owners locating their stolen assets and then attempting to recover it themselves.

    The idea of "bricking" the phone, with the ability to un-brick it in case of recovery, is a good one. It would de-monetize the theft of iPhones. As with all things digital, there would eventually be efforts around re-flashing/un-bricking phones, but it's a good step in the right direction.

    j
    secanalyst
  • Nanny Mentality

    This is an incredibly useful service. Most lost phones are
    lost, not stolen. i.e., lost my phone but where did I loose
    it? On the bus? In a restaurant? At work? Which lost and
    found do I need to check?

    I'm not sure if its a good idea to use the service to
    confront an actual thief, but what people do with this
    service is their issue and it does not make any sense to
    restrict the service because some people may do
    something that could endanger themselves with it.

    Me, I'll check where the phone is to see if its a known
    place I forgot it at and go there if it is. It its traveling
    around and I'm not sure who has it, I'd call/text it to try
    and get it back and maybe wipe it. But if I thought it was
    really stolen I'd report it as such and let the
    police/insurance deal with it.

    jimboutilier
  • Wouldn't you deserve it????

    Hey, if you think you're tuff enough to handle an unknown person who stole your iPhone, well then go for it. If you end up dead, well then...
    Narg
  • The Constitution is Grand

    In this situation, I am glad to live in America. The problem doesn't arise from being able to track your stolen device, the problem comes from the general mentality that the law is an entitlement of protection. In fact the whole reason that you as a citizen have the right to bear arms is for the understanding, even all those years ago, that the government could not really protect someone from day-to-day civil dispute.

    I personally have a CHL.(Concealed Handgun License) If I was able to track down property that had been stolen from me, I would confront the thief. I would hope that once confronted and given the option to return the item with no consequences the said thief would be reasonable. If you are attacked by a person threatening your personal safety, the attacker has officially relinquished their rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It would be unfortunate, but I would have no qualms about shooting someone who attacked me. Because technically, it wasn't me; it was the law. Be smart! don't depend on someone else to protect yourself, your family or your possesions.
    scubashnurpel
    • I'm not sure I'd shoot someone over a iphone

      Although I do strongly agree that everyone has the right to protect themselves and their family from harm, I'm not so sure that that right extends to property. And no I'm not some crazy liberal or whatever, in fact I have a handgun license and carry almost anytime I'm out of my home. Even so I'd hate to be standing in front of a judge trying to explain that someone had been killed because 'they took my iphone' and I would feel terrible for taking someones life over something so stupid. At the end of the day the risk doesn't really seem worth it to me, just turn it in on your homeowners/renters insurance and forget about it. If you did actually have to shoot someone, the defense attorney is going to set you back ALOT more than the cost of a iphone. Also didn't this happen in Chicago? I think it is against the law to carry firearms in Chicago.
      caspinkraytslayer@...
    • Scary

      [i]I would hope that once confronted and given the option to return the item with no consequences the said thief would be reasonable.[/i]

      What if he simply said: [i]No. It's my phone, I paid for it.[/i] and started walking away. Then you grabbed him. Then he struggled. Then you shot him. Then it turned out that he bought the phone from the actual thief.

      He never stole your phone, you attacked him first, and then when he tried to defend himself, you just shot him.

      That's the problem with vigilantes. You don't have all the facts, you are upset, you are mad, and you are looking for a fight.

      Edit: Please note that I'm not talking about defending yourself, I'm not anti-gun, left wing (well, okay, a little, I AM Canadian!). I'm talking more about vigilantes. It is why I think it is better to have a third party handle things like this. They aren't as involved and less likely to let emotion take over if they don't get their way.
      NonZealot
    • You Should Not Own A Gun

      Owning a firearm is a *HUGE* responsibility, and if you take that responsibility so flippant that you're not even able to recognize that it's *YOU* who pulls that trigger, not someone else, not the law, not the constitution, *YOU*...if you don't comprehend that, then you are a danger to yourself and, more importantly, to everyone around you. Simply put, people like you should not own guns. A gun in the hands of someone like you is JUST AS BAD as a gun in the hands of a criminal.

      Further, if your phone was stolen, guess what? Yeah, it was probably stolen by a DRUG USER who stole it so they could support their habit. Worst case scenario is you go track the guy down, who turns out to be a PCP addict, in which case that gun of yours isn't gonna be of much use since even if you shoot the guy he'll just keep coming at you...hell he wouldn't even need a weapon himself if he was really tripped out.

      Call the police...*ALWAYS*...don't be a frackin moron and take such blatantly idiot chances with your life, unless you just really want to try and win a Darwin Award.

      And again, don't just "let it go" either. For all you know that phone is gonna be sold for drugs which could then in turn be sold to kids/teens...or it could have even been stolen by a kid/teen in the first place to buy drugs, or your gawd only knows what else.

      Also, by *NOT* doing anything it's only going to encourage them to KEEP DOING IT, so you're also effectively enabling them and HELPING THEM STEAL from future victims. Where as if they get busted for stealing your phone...then it likely might just end there and they won't do it again.

      Do nothing and you essentially become an accomplice to any future crime of theirs.
      Onideus_Mad_Hatter
  • RE: Does MobileMe's Find My iPhone lead to potential bodily harm?

    The heck with finding my missing phone, it's not missing.

    But get this app for my wife's pc so she can track me when I am on the road. That would eliminate those annoying calls when I'm behind schedule, (more the kids then the wife!).
    bdelyser
  • uhm yeah.

    I would hunt them down and make them wear their a** for a hat.
    mojorison67@...