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FCC & Cell Industry Address Stolen Phone Problem At Last!

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This morning Chmn. Genachowski joined with several law enforcement and government leaders as well as CTIA’s Christopher Guttman-McCabe “to unveil new Initiatives to protect consumers and curb smartphone device and data theft”.

Readers may recall 2 earlier posts that discussed this problem following the bizarre appearance of CTIA’s John Walls on the Today Show, where he seemed oblivious to the issue of taking quick action to discourage thefts through blocking the reregistration of stolen phones as is done in Australia and UK. While CTIA claims the interview was unfairly edited, a responsive YouTube post by Mr. Walls the same day still showed disinterest in the topic and a desire to wait until consensus was reached on details with “Mexican service providers, Central American, South America, African, Chinese”.

While the details of the new FCC plan are not yet posted, a video of the event should be available soon on the FCC website.

Wireless Week reports

There are a number of facets to the initiative. Wireless carriers, in conjunction with law enforcement, CTIA and the FCC, will implement databases to prevent reactivation of stolen smartphones. By October 2012, U.S. GSM providers will implement a database so that stolen GSM smartphones will not work on any U.S. GSM network.

In addition, U.S. providers will create a common database for LTE smartphones designed to prevent smartphones that are reported stolen by consumers from being activated or provided service on any LTE network in the U.S. and on appropriate international LTE stolen mobile smartphone databases. That database will be completed by Nov. 30, 2013.

Kudos to the cellular industry for digging themselves out of the self-inflicted PR problem they got themselves into on March 22 and agreeing to promptly take initial actions to discourage violent thefts of their equipment that endanger their customers.
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