'Bricking' Now An Option For Stolen Smartphones | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

'Bricking' Now An Option For Stolen Smartphones

Play associated audio
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier talks about a new policy that allows cell phone users to "brick" their stolen smart phones.
Armando Trull
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier talks about a new policy that allows cell phone users to "brick" their stolen smart phones.

There's now a new tool in the fight against cell phone theft: "bricking." Bricking is a technique that allows customers to render their cell phone useless if it's been stolen. 

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced the new policy at a press conference at MPD headquarters earlier today.

If a person's iPhone or Android is stolen, one phone call to the carrier will kill the device. "That means the person who stole your phone can't resell it on the black market, says Lanier. "The phone will essentially be useless."

For years, this method has not been possible in the United States and stolen cell phones could be easily reactivated. Some other countries, such as Australia and the United Kingdom, already allow customers to brick stolen cell phones and the practice was just implemented in the United States this year. 

The inability to brick phones has made expensive smart phones very attractive to thieves because of the high resale value, according to Lanier. Lanier and others have been lobbying Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the phone companies to allow "bricking" in the U.S. It garnered support police departments nationwide, as well as the FCC.

"Very quickly, everyone came to appreciate the importance of this," says D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. "Especially since we saw the escalation of robberies in the last year."

Lanier says if person's phone is stolen, the first move is to call 9-1-1, and then individual's carrier. That way police will try to catch the thief.

NPR

6 Novelists Withdraw From Event Honoring 'Charlie Hebdo' For Free Speech

Peter Carey and Rachel Kushner are among those who are withdrawing in protest from the PEN American Center's annual gala. Kushner says she is uncomfortable with Charlie Hebdo's "cultural intolerance."
NPR

Drop-In Chefs Help Seniors Stay In Their Own Homes

As people age, cooking can become difficult or even physically impossible. It's one reason people move to assisted living. One company offers a chef to cook healthy, affordable meals at home.
NPR

Loretta Lynch Sworn In As U.S. Attorney General

Lynch's nomination was confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate, five months after President Obama nominated her to succeed Eric Holder.
NPR

Leave The Selfie Sticks At Home, Wimbledon Says

Taking the same stance as the Kentucky Derby and major music festivals, the All England Lawn Tennis Club reportedly cited the devices' "nuisance value."

Leave a Comment

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