Security - Anti-TheftWhen people purchase high-ticket items, such as laptops, cellphones or personal music players, like the iPod or Zune – should they be allowed the opportunity activate a ‘kill switch’ electronically within the device to disable it? Some say it is only fair, but would pawn shops then go out of business?

In an AP column today, it was noted that iPods may have an impact on crime – or not, but also that Apple has explored an “anti-theft mechanism” in patent filings.

Its easy to see why iPods would be alluring targets for criminals: The music players are valuable and easy to resell, and people absorbed in their personal soundtracks can be vulnerably oblivious to their surroundings.

But could the temptation for stealing iPods be so strong that theyre behind an increase in the crime rate? Researchers at a public policy institute say yes.

They argue that the tantalizing gadgets are perhaps the main reason U.S. violent crime rose in 2005 and 2006 after declining every year since 1991—although a close look at the findings suggests the hypothesis has holes.

The Urban Institute, a Washington think tank, first raised the subject of an “iCrime wave” last September, and held a panel discussion Tuesday to explore it further. The researchers dont blame iPod maker Apple Inc. or any other device maker for crime, but they do say consumers should demand technologies that would render stolen gadgets useless.

My question is simple. If it gets connected back to Apple as most mainstream users would be using standard tools, like iTunes – why couldn’t the user simply ‘kill’ the device through a simple check-box online. Once it’s connected, bingo. iPod gets fed a magic packet – and boom. Lights out. Further, Apple could record the offending IP and provide the user a notification that deactivation has occurred and further details are available for law enforcement, perhaps even email you the information to provide the police to access the offending IP address.

Am I too simplistic? I think not.

Source: Did IPods Cause a Crime Wave?