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Mobile Carriers Launch National Database to Aid in Fight Against Cellphone Theft

Maura

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A report in the New York Times today says that mobile phone carriers in the US are joining up with police departments and the Federal Communications Commission to implement a plan designed to tackle the growing epidemic of mobile phone theft. The solution that they have all come up with is to launch a central database that will track stolen phones and stop them from being used again. The scheme is being launched today by Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC, as well as police chiefs from New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and representatives from a wireless industry trade group.

Aside from launching today’s scheme, which will see mobile carriers having the power to disable and block a phone as soon as it is reported as stolen, The New York Times says that the interested parties are also working with members of Congress to help prepare legislation that will make it illegal to tamper with a phone’s unique identifiers.

“It’s just too easy for a thief to steal a phone and sell it on the black market,” Mr. Genachowski told The New York Times. “This program will make it a lot harder to do that. And the police departments we are working with tell us that it will significantly deter this kind of theft.”

The Times also reports that over the next six months Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will all be launching their own programs to disable phones and prevent them from being used on their network once they are reported as stolen. Within 18 months, these separate programs are due to be combined to form a national database.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/t...e-planned-to-combat-cellphone-theft.html?_r=3
Via MacWorld
 

Skull One

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I wonder what finally got Wireless Providers to do the right thing?

Because up until this announcement, it was actually in their best interest to allow the stolen phones to be continued to be used.
 

DRad2003

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Skull One said:
I wonder what finally got Wireless Providers to do the right thing?

Because up until this announcement, it was actually in their best interest to allow the stolen phones to be continued to be used.

Violence over people stealing phones and I'm sure with all the insurance claims due to actual stolen phones as well as people saying they were but weren't and used by someone else. That's a lot of money being lost.
 

Skull One

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Violence over people stealing phones and I'm sure with all the insurance claims due to actual stolen phones as well as people saying they were but weren't and used by someone else. That's a lot of money being lost.

The violence is a real issue and was never addressed by the Wireless Providers. Mainly because it didn't impact their bottom line. I doubt they grew a conscience over that.

The insurance angle doesn't work at all. That is a profit center for a third party company. The Wireless Providers actually make money because a new phone is now in the system and the old one is still in the system.

So what really changed their minds?
 

DRad2003

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Skull One said:
The violence is a real issue and was never addressed by the Wireless Providers. Mainly because it didn't impact their bottom line. I doubt they grew a conscience over that.

The insurance angle doesn't work at all. That is a profit center for a third party company. The Wireless Providers actually make money because a new phone is now in the system and the old one is still in the system.

So what really changed their minds?

I doubt they grew a conscience either. But being pushed by consumers as well as law enforcement can make them do a lot. They don't need anymore negative publicity. They get enough of that on their own.
 

Garrett

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would be really nice to make this database searchable by the consumer to protect buyers from buying stolen phones.
 

Skull One

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would be really nice to make this database searchable by the consumer to protect buyers from buying stolen phones.

You know that is NEVER going to happen. Heck I won't believe any of this until I read the FCC declaring it is real and working.
 

Garrett

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You know that is NEVER going to happen. Heck I won't believe any of this until I read the FCC declaring it is real and working.

yeah i know but i can always hope..... for all we know this could be a giant ploy to help deter thieves.

Phones will still be stolen and sold to people who don't bother to educate themselves in order to not be scammed.
 

Semel

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Thiefs are just going to ship their stolen phones to other countries where it will still work.
 

Skull One

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Exactly. And that truly will cut into their bottom line. So we still don't know the real reason.
 

DRad2003

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I think it's just because people got tired of getting ripped off. Just like AT&T doing the unlocking for people now. It's good publicity for everyone involved with all of the negative things. Rates, throttling, data caps. That is the only thing I can think of. There may be some hidden agenda but I can't even come close to seeing it right now.
 

Skull One

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Ok... This is JUST DANG FUNNY to me....

Wireless carrier AT&T is the target of a class-action suit that claims the company profited from cell phone theft by aiding and abetting thieves.


The suit filed in California Superior Court by three plaintiffs alleges the wireless carrier assisted thieves “in earning illegal profits, by turning on, or ‘re-activating’ said stolen phones.”


The plaintiffs claimed in court documents that AT&T representatives said they were unable to block usage of stolen phones, and in turn made millions of dollars from the activity.


“Defendants actively have, for years, participated in this practice in order to make millions of dollars in improper profits by forcing legitimate customers…to buy new cell phones and buy new cell phone plans,” the documents stated.

Source - AT&T Aided Cell Phone Thieves, Suit Claims - ABC News
 

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