US-based mobile trade group CTIA-The Wireless Association says a national database for 3G and 4G smartphones is now in place. It means that devices stolen within the USA can potentially be blocked from use even if they’re taken abroad.
In April 2012, the organisation agreed to put a US-wide database in place within six months to prevent stolen GSM smartphones from working on any US GSM network. It also committed to creating a database for LTE (4G) smartphones that would prevent stolen devices from being used in the USA and would also link to international stolen phone databases where possible. The deadline for this was 30th November 2013.
CTIA has been working with the government’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and police chiefs from major cities to achieve its aims.
Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association, said “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. As more countries and more carriers around the world participate in the 3G and 4G/LTE databases, criminals will have fewer outlets since these stolen phones would be blacklisted and could not be reactivated.”
“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. By working together with everyone – from the wireless companies, law enforcement, policymakers and consumers – we will make a difference.”
The UK database for mobile phones, Immobilise, was set up in 2003.