Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Initiative Disabling Stolen Cell - iPhones

A USAToday article this morning is reporting that "within six months Americans calling participating wireless providers and reporting their smart- or cellphone stolen, will be having that provider's blocking the device from ever being used again -- the system hopefully being rolled out globally using common databases across carriers over the next year and a half."

he nationwide database is part of an agreement between the Federal Communications Commission and the nation's cellular providers to create a database that would be used to permanently disable stolen smartphones. (Announcement) That would presumably be strengthened by a bill proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., making it illegal to circumvent the database as well. (See FCC chairman Julius Genachowski’s statement)

Theft of mobile devices make up some 30-40% of all robberies in major U.S. cities. "iPhone and smart phones nowadays are like catnip for criminals," Schumer was quoted by CBS News and USAToday. "They've valuable, they're exposed, and they're easy to steal…. Our goal is to make a stolen cellphone as worthless as an empty wallet. By permanently disabling stolen them, we can take away the incentive to steal a them in the first place and put a serious dent in the growing rates of iPhone and smartphone theft."

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