NPR : News

Filed Under:

Carriers, FCC Join In Bid To Curb Cellphone Thefts

Wireless providers have agreed to create a national database of stolen cellphones that it is hoped will make the devices somewhat less tempting to thieves.

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and a group of lawmakers and law enforcement officials are set to announce outlines of the plan at 10 a.m. ET.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "the database, which the wireless companies will build and maintain, will be designed to track phones that are reported as lost or stolen and deny them voice and data service. The idea is to reduce crime by making it difficult or impossible to actually use a stolen device, reducing resale value."

But, the Journal adds:

"The databases aren't perfect, said David Rogers, a mobile security expert at consulting firm Copper Horse Solutions in London. Phones that are blocked from receiving voice service 'still have lots of functions.' They can still connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, for instance, as well as play music or games."

ZDNet also notes that "in some cases, unique [cellphone ID] numbers can be changed and the devices can be shipped abroad where they still work on foreign networks."

But, it also says:

"A similar system has existed in the UK and Australia for years, with a good success rate and strong consumer confidence. The National Mobile Phone Register has been running for nearly two years, and located and identified more than 50,000 phones in the first nine months of operation."

Earlier this year, The Hill wrote that "a recent study by Norton indicated that one in three individuals experience cellphone loss or theft, and a Symantec study of 50 Android phones in major cities found that more than 95 percent of people who found missing phones tried to access sensitive personal information."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.