Anti-Smartphone Theft Measure Will be Implemented in the US
Major carriers and U.S. authorities are working on a new program that can render smartphones useless after they’re stolen. Latest smartphones are light-weight, slim and expensive; making them tempting target for robbers and thieves anywhere. Regulators, law enforcement agencies and mobile phone industry in the United States hope that the new initiative can dry up the market for lost and stolen smartphones.
Currently, people can simply insert a new SIM to a stolen phone and once the phone is formatted to default factory settings, all traces of previous ownership will disappear. Thieves can sell the phone to an unscrupulous merchant or use it themselves. Major nationwide carriers – T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Verizon – and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) recently agreed to participate in establishing a joint database to assign unique ID numbers to each smartphone, which allow a carrier to disable an illegally acquired phone permanently. This measure would turn a pricey smartphone into a useless slab of plastic and glass, which in long-term would deter any theft attempt.
Carriers and other organizations will implement these four steps:
- Establish databases to allow stolen smartphone to be disabled
- Notify consumers of the locking features
- Notify consumers about apps that allow them to remotely erase data/locate/lock from lost or stolen smartphones
- Educate consumers about preventive measures
In a series of coordinated crackdowns on smartphone theft rings, police departments around the United States have arrested hundred of thieves and illegal phone resellers. Due to the proliferation of smartphone, robberies and theft are growing more violent, causing numerous injuries.