Stolen phones: how police and the wireless industry are protecting a popular target

Stolen phones: how police and the wireless industry are protecting a popular target

STORYSTREAM

Stolen phones: how police and the wireless industry are protecting a popular target
By
Sean Hollister
on December 4, 2013 11:10 pm

Stolen smartphones are an epidemic, and both New York City and San Francisco have sworn to fight back. After NYC saw its crime rate increase for the first time in twenty years based on Apple device thefts — and San Francisco saw one too many citizens get hurt in muggings — city prosecutors embarked on an initative to curb the crime by convincing smartphone makers to offer a “kill switch” to remotely disable a phone.

However, the wireless industry had already been working to police the problem itself with an international database of devices that shouldn’t be activated. Will either of these solutions work?

MAJOR UPDATES
California’s smartphone kill switch bill has been signed into law
First smartphone ‘kill switch’ law signed in Minnesota
Apple, Google, Microsoft and others sign anti-phone-theft pledge
18
TOTAL UPDATES
Latest 27 days ago, oldest over 2 years ago
NEWEST FIRST

UPDATE 18
27 days ago
70
Android Lollipop has a ‘kill switch’ that can make stolen phones useless
By
Jacob Kastrenakes
on October 15, 2014 02:47 pm
California law requires that all smartphones made beginning next July
include a “kill switch”
that allows them to be disabled when stolen, and Google has just built one into Android.
Recode reports
that Android Lollipop includes a feature called “Factory Reset Protection,” which can make a phone require that a password is entered before it’s reset. When combined with the ability to remotely lock your phone, which Google
introduced last year
, it appears that Android devices now have a full…

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UPDATE 17
3 months ago
40
California’s smartphone kill switch bill has been signed into law
By
Josh Lowensohn
on August 25, 2014 05:46 pm
A bill that requires all smartphones manufactured after July 1st, 2015 to include anti-theft measures if sold in the state of California was signed into law today. California governor Jerry Brown signed the bill, which was introduced back in February, and finally cleared the State assembly two weeks ago. Its aim is to make phones a less attractive target for thieves by requiring built-in tools that let consumers remotely lock, wipe, and disable the devices.

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UPDATE 16
6 months ago
55
First smartphone ‘kill switch’ law signed in Minnesota
By
Sean Hollister
on May 14, 2014 10:18 pm
On July 1st, 2015, it will be illegal to sell a smartphone in Minnesota without antitheft software preinstalled. That’s because Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton
just signed
the first so-called “kill switch” bill into law. The idea is that if smartphone owners can always remotely disable and wipe their phones after they’re stolen, it will deter criminals from stealing them at all. It’s a feature that
police departments across the country
have requested, due to how popular it has become for…

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UPDATE 15
6 months ago
90
Find My iPhone is spawning a new breed of vigilantes
By
Dante D’Orazio
on May 4, 2014 06:40 pm
Remember when your parents told you that your life is worth more than whatever a thief wants to take from you? It seems some phone owners, tempted by GPS-tracking apps like Find My iPhone, are ignoring that advice and tracking down criminals themselves in hopes of getting their smartphones back.
The New York Times has followed up
with a few iPhone vigilantes, and as you might expect, not all cellphone recovery missions turn out so well. But there are also some incredible stories, including a…

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UPDATE 14
7 months ago
107
California bill to require a ‘kill switch’ on phones fails in state senate
By
Josh Lowensohn
on April 24, 2014 10:19 pm
A California bill that would require anti-theft measures to be included in smartphones, failed to pass today after a vote fell two Senate members short of its minimum.
Senate bill 962 —
which was introduced in February by Senator Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat — asked for any “advanced mobile communications device,” sold in the state next year to have hardware or software features to let owners render the devices useless when stolen. The “kill switch” bill needed 21 votes to pass, but…

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UPDATE 13
7 months ago
94
Apple, Google, Microsoft and others sign anti-phone-theft pledge
By
Russell Brandom
on April 15, 2014 07:09 pm
A new pledge signed by nearly every major player in the phone industry is promising that after July of 2015, it will be a lot harder to steal a smartphone, according to
a statement from the CTIA
. After that date, the companies pledge that every user will be able to remotely brick and wipe their phones in the event of a theft, features currently offered by
Find my iPhone
and the
Android Device Manager
. Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung have already signed on,…

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UPDATE 12
12 months ago
38
Stolen smartphone database is complete, says CTIA
By
Sean Hollister
on November 27, 2013 10:57 pm
AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless
launched a database for stolen smartphones last year
, and today the wireless industry says that database system is complete. CTIA president and CEO Steve Largent announced that the database now allows carriers to block activation of LTE smartphones as well as 3G devices, hopefully deterring their theft, and has been integrated with international databases so foreign carriers can assist the effort. “As more countries and more carriers around the…

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UPDATE 11
12 months ago
79
US carriers reportedly oppose Samsung building anti-theft ‘kill switch’ into smartphones
By
Chris Welch
on November 19, 2013 03:16 pm
Major US wireless carriers have rejected the idea of a “kill switch” security measure being added to Samsung’s popular Android phones,
according to The New York Times
. San Francisco district attorney George Gascón has been negotiating with Samsung to add tighter anti-theft features to its products, but mobile providers and the CTIA have reportedly come out in opposition to the plan. After reviewing emails between a developer and Samsung, Gascón is convinced that’s because the companies fear…

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UPDATE 10
about 1 year ago
44
Google adds remote lock and password reset features to Android Device Manager
By
Chris Welch
on September 24, 2013 09:05 am
Android users can now remotely lock down a misplaced or stolen device from the web. Google has rolled this critical feature into Android Device Manager, which
launched last month
with location tracking and remote wipe functionality. Now the web tool lets you lock any Android smartphone running version 2.2 of the operating system and above. To do so, you’ll simply need to set a new password to be entered once the device is recovered. This can be different from your regular lock screen PIN, so…

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UPDATE 9
about 1 year ago
182
NYPD cops are telling people to upgrade to iOS 7 to fight crime
By
Jacob Kastrenakes
on September 22, 2013 06:38 pm
The New York Police Department is a big fan of iOS 7. According to
several
reports
on Twitter
, the department has officers out on the street distributing fliers encouraging iPhone owners to update to iOS 7, which has new security features that might just cut down on theft. Earlier this year, New York’s attorney general
called on Apple and other smartphone manufacturers
to step up the tools they provide to prevent theft and facilitate device recovery. With Apple’s latest update, it’s made…

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UPDATE 8
over 1 year ago
22
What happens to your smartphone after it’s stolen?
By
m4tt
on July 15, 2013 04:07 am
As demand for smartphones continues to increase, mobile-related crime has risen with it. In the US, not only are smartphones a prime target for thieves looking to make a quick buck, organized crime gangs are paying large sums of money to ship devices outside the country.
The Huffington Post takes a look
at the massive global market for smartphones, detailing the operation of a US company that accepted so many stolen iPhones and iPads (to ship overseas) it needed an armored truck to deliver…

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UPDATE 7
over 1 year ago
55
US prosecutors call for smartphone ‘kill switch’ with launch of anti-theft initiative
By
m4tt
on June 13, 2013 08:21 am
San Francisco and New York prosecutors will today roll out a new scheme aimed at cutting smartphone theft in the US.
The AP reports
that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon will launch the Save Our Smartphones Initiative, forming a collation with police, prosecutors, and consumer groups across the country to demand smartphone makers place tighter restrictions on stolen devices.

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UPDATE 6
over 1 year ago
48
New York requests help from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung to stop smartphone thefts
By
Jacob Kastrenakes
on May 13, 2013 02:14 pm
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
has called on
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Motorola Mobility to work with his office toward curbing smartphone thefts. In a letter to each, Schneiderman criticized the companies for potentially failing to meet security promises that they make to consumers. He believes that each of the five have overly emphasized data security
to the detriment of device security
, and suggested that the companies ought to be able to develop technology that…

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UPDATE 5
over 1 year ago
360
Missing in action: why doesn’t Google help consumers find their lost Android phones?
By
Dieter Bohn
on April 10, 2013 09:00 am
Google is respected for its prowess in the cloud. Android phones that connect up to Google’s services enjoy a wide array of features — from email to apps to notes — that offer seamless sync between the web and your device. Yet there’s one enormously important feature that Google does not extend to consumers: the ability to find or remotely wipe an Android phone if it’s lost. Instead, the company has kept its solution limited to enterprise and paid Google Apps customers. The rest of us are…

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UPDATE 4
almost 2 years ago
135
Your lost iPhone is not this man’s problem (update)
By
Amar Toor
on January 15, 2013 02:55 am
At 59 years old, Wayne Dobson should be enjoying the relaxed, stress-free life of a retiree. Instead, he’s been spending the past few years dealing with people who think he’s a cellphone thief.

As the
Las Vegas Review-Journal reports
, that’s all due to an apparent glitch in Sprint’s location-tracking services that, for some reason, has been directing owners of missing phones (as well as police) to Dobson’s home in North Las Vegas. As a result, he’s had people knocking on his door at all…

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UPDATE 3
almost 2 years ago
161
Mayor Bloomberg blames Apple thefts for rise in New York City crime rate
By
Chris Welch
on December 28, 2012 12:14 pm
New York City’s annual crime rate is about to increase for the first time in 20 years, with city officials (and Mayor Michael Bloomberg) squarely laying the blame on a sharp jump in Apple-related thefts. As of Monday, the city had logged 108,432 major crimes throughout the five boroughs — 3,484 more compared to where things stood at this point last year. In particular, police have seen a dramatic rise in thefts involving Apple hardware, which are up 3,890 year-over-year. If not for the allure…

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UPDATE 2
about 2 years ago
30
AT&T and T-Mobile switch on stolen cellphone database (update: Verizon and Sprint too)
By
Sam Byford
on November 1, 2012 02:31 am
AT&T and T-Mobile have introduced a database that will track stolen cellphones and keep them from being used on the carriers’ networks. All four major US carriers agreed to contribute to the database
back in April
; CTIA executive Chris Guttman-McCabe
told IDG News
that AT&T and T-Mobile have collaborated first because their GSM networks are essentially interchangeable.

“The goal is to not only protect the consumer by cancelling the service, but by ultimately protecting the consumer by…

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UPDATE 1
over 2 years ago
31
AT&T to launch new blocking service for stolen devices on July 10th
By
louisgoddard
on July 6, 2012 08:02 am
AT&T will launch a new service for reporting and blocking stolen devices on Tuesday, according to a trusted source. The service will allow customers to deny voice, data and SMS access to any individual phone or tablet while keeping their account intact, avoiding the inconvenience of a full SIM block.

The company sent a message (pictured below) to customer service representatives on Wednesday advising them of the change. According to the guidance, AT&T will compile a “blocklist” of stolen…

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ORIGINAL STORY
over 2 years ago
17
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint team with FCC to track stolen cellphones in the US
By
Sean Hollister
on April 9, 2012 10:56 pm
Calling cell phone theft a “growing epidemic,” the Federal Communications Commission announced today that all four major US cellphone carriers have agreed to deny cell and data service to stolen phones, and contribute the serial numbers of those phones to a national database.
The Wall Street Journal
,
Bloomberg
,
USA Today
and
The New York Times
each appear to have been briefed on the plans from both official and unofficial sources ahead of a formal announcement in Washington tomorrow, and…

Continue reading »

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