Just because it's possible to trace a lost or stolen phone, it doesn't mean it's always a good idea to try, police in Canada say after an 18-year-old man found his phone but lost his life. Police in London, Ontario, say that after Jeremy Cook left his phone in a taxi early Sunday morning, he used a tracking app to find it and ended up confronting three men in a car at around 5:15am, the National Post reports. Police say Cook, who was accompanied by a relative, grabbed the driver's-side door when the car started to drive away and was shot multiple times. Investigators seeking three suspects say there doesn't appear to be a previous connection between Cook and the men, the London Free Press reports.
Police say that while the death certainly wasn't the app's fault, people tracking lost devices should consider the circumstances and contact police if there's any potential for violence. While Cook's case is an extreme one, analysts say people often go to great lengths to reclaim devices not just because of the expense, but because of their attachment to them. "Efforts by individuals to track their mobile devices and smartphones are linked to the extent to which we feel emotionally connected to our mobile device," a technology analyst tells the Canadian Press. "Our attachment to our data is so strong that it might prompt people to not be as cautious as authorities might wish us to be." (Last year, a Texas man died after going back into a burning building for his phone.)