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US Carriers Finally Doing Something About Cellphone Theft 155

New submitter zarmanto writes "In a move that is so long overdue that it boggles the mind, the FCC and the four largest cellular providers in the U.S. state that they will be joining forces to combat cell phone theft. From the article: 'Over the next six months, each of the four operators is expected to put in place a program to disable phones reported as stolen and within 18 months the FCC plans to help merge them into a central database in order to prevent a phone from being used on another carrier's network.'"
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US Carriers Finally Doing Something About Cellphone Theft

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  • Why 18 months? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:17PM (#39633479)

    Long overdue, this technology has proven to reduce phone theft in places like Australia. Getting mugged for your phone [] is rapidly becoming very common in the US. There is a switch in every GSM system database designed for precisely this purpose. Its in the GSM specs. All these carriers are running the same call connection software. (Most of them are too clueless to have developed their own).

    Why not turn it on WITHIN carriers in 45 days flat, and between carriers within 90 days? Some say there is money to be made by selling you a new phone, and the carriers were unwilling to forego that revenue stream. The thief (or the people who buy from the thieves) have to sign up for service, but they won't be buying any new phone with that service. Many also suggest that a good portion of the non-contract market is using stolen phones.

    But turning this on is not hard. Carriers have been dragging their feet on this for decades.

    The tinfoil hat in me expects the carriers to turn this into another way to make money, if not by charging a fee, then by using it as an excuse to not accept phones purchased elsewhere, or by insistin you bring your phone in for them to record the IMEI, and charging a fee to record it.

  • Big Brother (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MacColossus ( 932054 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:55PM (#39634165) Journal
    A centralized government database of all cell phones with mac addresses, imei numbers and such. Should be even easier for them to do warrantless tracking of whomever they choose.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus