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

'Top Gear' Returns With New Hosts On BBC America

The massively popular BBC show, Top Gear, relaunches Monday on BBC America. Following the painfully public downfall of its former host, the new hosts have big gears to grind.
NPR

'Sweetbitter' Is A Savory Saga Of Restaurant Life And Love

Oysters, cocaine, fine wine, love triangles: Stephanie Danler's debut novel Sweetbitter follows a year in the life of a young woman working at a top-tier Manhattan restaurant.
WAMU 88.5

Ralph Nader: The Future Of The Progressive Movement In The D.C. Region

Iconic consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader joins us for a conversation about civic engagement, the role of the media, and the future of the progressive movement in the D.C. region.

WAMU 88.5

Hillary Clinton's Emails

Hillary Clinton is under pressure after a State Department report criticized her use of a private email server: what's in the report, potential security risks and whether it could affect Secretary Clinton's bid for the White House.

Leave a Comment

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