U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer today applauded the announcement by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, the nation’s police chiefs and the wireless industry of new efforts to deter the theft of smartphones and other cell phone-related crimes, which have increased dramatically in recent years.
The major U.S. wireless providers will create a new national database of stolen cell phones, which will help in disabling stolen smartphones and blocking them from being reactivated. The industry has also pledged to educate consumers about using applications and passwords to help safeguard their phones and personal data.
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Senator Boxer said, “I am encouraged that wireless companies have joined with the FCC and our nation’s police chiefs to address the epidemic of smartphone theft. If we can reduce the financial incentive for thieves to steal these devices, we can prevent these crimes and better protect the safety of the American people.”
Currently, more than 40 percent of all robberies in New York City involve smartphones and other wireless devices. In San Francisco, six cell phone thefts are reported every day. In Washington, D.C., there was a 54 percent increase in cell phone-related robberies between 2007 and 2011.
Senator Boxer wrote to the CTIA, the wireless industry association, last month urging the industry to swiftly implement measures already being used in the United Kingdom and Australia to disable handsets remotely, which have reduced cell phone-related crimes. The Major Cities Chiefs Association, which represents police chiefs in big cities nationwide, approved a resolution in February calling on the wireless industry to deploy these protections for American consumers.