Federal Communications Commission will collaborate with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless to create a cellphone database that’s designed to prevent cellphone theft.
The database will consist of registered cellphone IDs that are unique to each device. If a cellphone is lost or stolen, the owner would notify his/her wireless-communications carrier and the company would shut down the device, which would prevent a thief from gaining access to the cellphone owner’s personal information that’s on the cellphone.
Within 6 months, all four national carriers will have set up individual databases to deactivate a cellphone if its owner reports that it was lost or stolen. FCC says a national database, which would combine information from the four individual databases, will be created within 18 months.
Both Sprint and Verizon Wireless already have a system in place to block a cellphone from being reactivated if it was reported as lost or stolen.
The number of cellphone thefts has increased as consumer demand for smartphones has increased, say law-enforcement officials across the United States. In Washington, D.C., smartphones are targeted in 38 percent of robberies, and 95 percent of stolen smartphones resurface in the local market, according to Cathy Lanier, who is police chief of Metropolitan Police Department of District of Columbia.