Plan to fight smartphone theft announced

April 10, 2012 at 5:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission and a wireless industry association say they're cooperating to combat the problem of stolen smartphones.

The FCC and the CTIA Wireless Association announced a three-part plan Tuesday to fight smartphone theft and protect consumers' personal data from falling into the hands of criminals, an FCC release reported.

First, wireless carriers will create a nationwide database of smartphones so when users call their participating wireless provider to report their wireless devices stolen, the provider can remotely deactivate that device so thieves cannot access it.

Also, users would be sent SMS text messages with information on how to use passwords to deter theft and protect their data.

Finally, wireless carriers say they plan to educate consumers about mobile applications they can download that give them the ability to remotely lock, locate or wipe data from their smartphone if it gets stolen.

"iPhones and smartphones are catnip for criminals," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said. "They're valuable, they're exposed and they're easy to steal. ... They're not only stealing the device they're stealing personal information."

The major goal of the plan, he said, was to make stealing smartphones unprofitable, since thieves would quickly discover stolen smartphones are deactivated, inaccessible and useless to them.

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