Private-Public Partnership Fights Cell Phone Theft
Wireless carriers and federal regulators are cracking down on cell phone theft.
The loss of a smart phone can cause serious privacy concerns, given that robbers will have access to victims’ voicemails, text messages, contacts and emails. This is why some of the nation’s largest wireless carriers are working with federal regulators and law enforcement officers to create a centralized database to identify stolen phones and render them useless.
Cell phone theft has steadily risen in recent years, following the insurgence of smart phones and advanced mobile devices. In fact, between 2007 and 2011, cell phone theft increased 54 percent. In New York, more than 40 percent of robberies involve smartphones. In DC, between the months of October and February, 58 percent of robbery reports involved smartphones.
Within six months, victims of stolen cell phones will be able to call Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile and the carrier will block phones from being used again. Within 18 months, companies will combine individual databases to combat the trading of stolen wireless devices domestically and abroad.
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