The CTIA has completed its stolen smartphone database. This is a complex arrangement whereby all smart phones will be tracked or locked if stolen. Thereby the very motivation of theft will be prevented.
President and CEO of the CTIA-The Wireless Association, Steve Largent, has made the announcement on Wednesday. He said, “Today, I am pleased to confirm that the global, multi-carrier, common database for LTE smartphones has been finalized and implemented in advance of the November 30, 2013 deadline. The matter of stolen devices is extremely important to the wireless providers, which is why they worked so hard over the last year to meet each deadline on time."
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Among the mobile carriers that began the initiative were: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. The database for pilfered smart phones was finally complete. The CTIA announced that all 4G/LTE and 3G devices would be blocked as regards their activation. This will act as a deterrent force against their theft by the criminal element in society.
Largent also said, “Another important element to stopping stolen phones is consumers. To assist users, we offer a list of apps to download that will remotely erase, track and/or lock the stolen devices. We also remind consumers to pay attention to their surroundings. Similar to your purse or wallet, it's best to not call attention to your smartphone and create an opportunity for a thief to steal it (e.g., leave it on a restaurant table, use it while walking or taking public transportation, allowing strangers to ‘borrow’ it to get directions, etc.)."
Links with global databases has been made possible as well so that foreign efforts could be made to retrieve the smartphones. The phones would be on the black list and could not be reactivated. That would greatly reduce the impetus to steal them in the first place. The issue was getting out of hand, but as they say the law has ways of meting out justice.
In cities such as New York and San Francisco, smartphone theft is extremely common. It even led to a “Save Our Smartphones Initiative”. The major goal of this scheme was to start manufacturing kill switches within mobile phones. But the carriers were against this decision. There was a reason behind this refusal. They stand to lose a ton of cash which they would otherwise receive from insurance policies. Besides, kill switches had their own dangers such as hackers immobilizing the smartphones from a remote location.
Steve Largent said, “We continue to believe that combating stolen cellphones will require a comprehensive effort. We encourage consumers to use currently available apps and features that would remotely wipe, track and lock their devices in case they are lost or stolen, and our members are continuing to explore and offer new technologies. We also strongly support and need Senator Schumer’s legislation to pass that would impose tough penalties on those who steal devices or modify them illegally since it would help dry up the market for those who traffic in stolen devices. We also need more foreign countries and carriers to participate in the global stolen phone database to prevent criminals from selling stolen devices internationally."
But some are saying that this international database will not be able to stop or even slow down thefts. We will just have to wait and see.
However, Largent believes that “By working together with everyone – from the wireless companies, law enforcement, policymakers and consumers – we will make a difference.”