South Africa Unrest: Samsung Blocks Looted TV Sets

Samsung has remotely disabled TV sets that were stolen during last month’s unrest in South Africa that was triggered by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma.

Samsung South Africa has announced the implementation of a television block function on all its TV sets obtained through unlawful means or stolen from its warehouses, including sets looted from its Cato Ridge distribution centre in KwaZulu-Natal last month.


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The company said the block function was activated as part of its commitment to reopening businesses and minimising the loss of jobs after the unrest, in line with the plea to #RebuildSouthAfrica. Samsung said in a statement:

TV Block is a remote, security solution that detects if Samsung TV units have been unduly activated, and ensures that the television sets can only be used by the rightful owners with a valid proof of purchase.

The aim is to mitigate against the creation of secondary markets linked to the sale of illegal goods, both in SA and beyond its borders.

The technology is already pre-loaded on all Samsung TV products. Mike van Lier, director of consumer electronics at Samsung SA, said:

We will continuously develop and expand strategic products in our consumer electronics division with defence-grade security, purpose-built, with innovative and intuitive business tools designed for a new world.

This technology can have a positive impact at this time, and will also be of use to both the industry and customers in the future.

Working together, we can overcome the impact of the unprecedented disruption to business, as experienced by many of us recently.

We will continue to review the situation and will make adjustments as necessary to ensure business continuity for all.

July’s riots cost 330 lives and R50bn in damage to property and infrastructure.

More: The South African

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