San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón recently held an acrimonious conference call with the nation’s largest wireless carriers and their lobbyists. “They refused to even entertain the idea of a technological solution to this,” Gascón said about the February call. “I told them in no uncertain terms that I believed they were motivated by profit and not social responsibility.”
In Washington, Police Chief Cathy Lanier says new federal laws are needed to mandate that all wireless carriers participate in new database systems that make it difficult to resubscribe stolen phones to cellular service. She is also pushing to shut down third-party buyers and resellers of phones, which she blames in part for a recent uptick in cell-phone crime reports in Washington. “Everybody is making money off the victims of street crime,” she said. “So it’s just very frustrating.”
Cellphones are the new car radios as far as theft goes but there is relief on the way.
Starting Sept. 30, 2013, cellphone customers in Canada will be able to register a stolen phone and carriers will then refuse to provide service to a cellphone with a device identifier registered as lost or stolen.
“This new device verification process, which will deny service to any device that is on the GSMA blacklist, is designed to help eliminate the black market for stolen devices in Canada and abroad,” said Bernard Lord, head of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
The U.S. is implementing the same plan in November 2013.