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It's Time To Start Taking Stolen Phones Seriously

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the something-worth-stealing dept.

Handhelds 282

itwbennett writes "'Find My iPhone' is neat, but it's time for smartphone makers and carriers to stop pretending their anti-theft measures are anything more than minimum viable products, says blogger Kevin Purdy. He's not the first to point this out: As reported in Slashdot, 'NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said overall crime in New York City was up 3.3% in 2012 due to iPhone, iPad and other Apple device thefts.' And now San Francisco and New York attorneys general are calling a 'Smartphone Summit' where representatives from Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft are due to meet and discuss the implementation of a industry-wide 'kill switch' system."

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282 comments

But, But... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932135)

When a phone is stolen, another phone gets purchased. Reducing phone thefts will cut into new phone sales!

Re:But, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932161)

If you had insurance on your phone, the carrier would replace it for you for free.

Re:But, But... (5, Insightful)

Randall311 (866824) | about 10 months ago | (#43932227)

You mean "free" as in the price of the insurance right? So not so free...

Re:But, But... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932659)

So you're the one with the rancid asshole! Someone told me someone on Slashdot would have a disgusting, feces-filled asshole that I could poke and prod with my fetid, disease-ridden cock, but I'm truly astounded that your asshole is many times more rancid than they let on! Well, let's begin, shall we? My sperm buddies are eager to swim around inside your feces! What say you?

Re:But, But... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932167)

Piracy IS good for the economy!

Re:But, But... (2)

irving47 (73147) | about 10 months ago | (#43932849)

Well, *theft* is... in these cases... But maybe you're worried about people that hobble up to you on a wooden peg-leg and say ARRR Matey... I'll be takin' yer phone, and there's a musketball with yer name on it if ye give chase!

Re:But, But... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 months ago | (#43932251)

When a phone is stolen, another phone gets purchased.

No, the same phone gets pawned off for a much lower price.

Re:But, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932347)

Throw a phone through a window, breaking it in the process. I call it the 'broken window theorem.'

Re:But, But... (1)

gnapster (1401889) | about 10 months ago | (#43932451)

Is that like the Parable of the Broken Window [wikipedia.org]?

Re:But, But... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#43932723)

Is that like the Parable of the Broken Window [wikipedia.org]?

No. Argumentation: the cited parable deals with the things unseen, like what happens inside Maryland NSA's storage and processing center. By contrast, there will be some civilians non-affiliated to NSA that will see the iPhone or the broken window.

(ducks)

Re:But, But... (4, Insightful)

calzones (890942) | about 10 months ago | (#43932365)

I keep seeing this line of reasoning on the matter here on /.

Honestly, it's pretty fucking vapid. The marginal revenue companies get from people buying replacements for stolen products is simply not a viable business model. They may prefer not to spend money dealing with a problem they see as the consumer's and not theirs, but to ascribe some insidious plot on their part to make extra money off of people who get their stuff stolen... it's inane.

Re:But, But... (4, Insightful)

justthinkit (954982) | about 10 months ago | (#43932515)

$Phonemaker does nothing, tons of phones get stolen, $Phonemaker makes tons of replacement phones (i.e. tons of money).
.

Or

$Phonemaker makes a used phone useless, no phones get stolen and $Phonemaker loses tons of money in lost replacement phone revenue.

Can you explain how each phone stolen is "marginal", as opposed to 100%, gain? Basically, if they do nothing they find money for zero work. This model dictates exactly what they should do -- absolutely nothing. No wonder they are having a big pow-wow about it. Might need to have annual meetings even.

Re: But, But... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932563)

Instead of buying a stolen phone someone then has to buy a new phone.

Re: But, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932881)

Or live without it. Not everyone wants or needs a new "smart"-phone.

If someone just need an old, "dumb"-phone, they might not want to buy a new smartphone for $$$$$, but if they can buy a stolen phone (dumb or smart) for $, they might go for it.

You aren't looking at systemic effects. (4, Insightful)

xmark (177899) | about 10 months ago | (#43932655)

Yes, the phonemaker gets more revenue. However, the money used to fund those replacements comes from an increased levy on all phone purchasers who have coverage. So everyone with coverage pays more for phones. The extra money that everyone pays for phones means less money spent on all other possible purchases. So Apple's revenue increase is Krogers' or Target's or Shell's decrease.

We usually disregard widely-distributed costs and look at local effects. This is especially true of politicians. But those effects are real and directly affect the aggregate economy numbers.

Re:But, But... (4, Insightful)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about 10 months ago | (#43932657)

Just think it through. Ha ha ha...
No but seriously, there is no guarantee that a user who has their phone stolen will buy that same phone again. So it's already not 100% gain, they may go to a competitor or buy a refurbished phone from their carrier. Next, assuming they do buy a replacement from you, there is also no guarantee they will buy the same model. They may buy a cheaper one which has lower margins, as many people do when they feel they were targeted as a result of owning the hottest model or simply cannot pay off their subsidy right away.
Okay, so as a result of this theft, you may wind up selling another phone and make a few bucks - but there are no guarantees whatsoever, and this means you cannot plan around illegal activity when building your financial models. This was the point made above, the returns are simply too small and too unreliable to factor into the models when compared to something like adding new features or running a series of marketing campaigns.
To coin a car analogy, it would be like Audi saying "Our cars are stolen the most, so we can expect greater revenues as a result" - would you buy an Audi knowing that? Or would you buy a phone from the first manufacturer who allows your car to be killed when it is stolen?

Re:But, But... (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 10 months ago | (#43932887)

You can plan around them getting another phone from you, because they are on a three year contract. And they will probably buy the same phone (they know it) or upgrade. So it really is free money. It would be easy to stop, every phone has a serial number. Just have a list of stolen phones and don't let them be used.

Re:But, But... (1)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 10 months ago | (#43932771)

Basically, if they do nothing they find money for zero work

You seem to forget there's one more phone available, likely at a reduced price. That's not to say every stolen phone ends up being sold, but many are. So $Phonemaker doesn't end up with the money in that case.

Re:But, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932817)

Only _tons_ haven't been stolen. I don't have the stats in front of me, but I would seriously doubt that more that 10% of iPhone users have reported a theft. I know more that 20 people with iPhones, none have had them stolen. I realize that's a piss poor sample set, but if the percentage were any higher I would expect at least one of my friends to have had one stolen.

Let's say 5% of iPhone owners have had their phones stolen over all of time (which is a large number if you think of it), that would mean for all the bullshit the company has to put up with regarding a stolen phone they would make all of 5% extra on top of their normal sales. That's ridiculous if you think about it.

Re:But, But... (2)

xevioso (598654) | about 10 months ago | (#43932951)

Well, as a counter example, I have at least two friends who have had their phones stolen twice. In addition, I DJ at a club, where phone thefts are rampant; I know of at least 15 instances at said club where people who have had a phone in a purse/jacket/backpack and foolishly left it somewhere while dancing returned to find them stolen. Its a FUCKING rampant problem here in San Francisco.

Re:But, But... (2)

tsotha (720379) | about 10 months ago | (#43932835)

$Phonemaker does nothing, tons of phones get stolen, $Phonemaker makes tons of replacement phones (i.e. tons of money).

Only if you assume the stolen phone never makes it back onto the market. Otherwise when a customer buys a stolen phone the phone maker loses a sale. It's a wash.

Re: But, But... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932857)

Phonemaker installs theft deterrence in phone.
Phone gets stolen less.
Customers see this as a desirable product enhancement.
Phone maker sells more phones (or increases price)

Re:But, But... (4, Informative)

bferrell (253291) | about 10 months ago | (#43932571)

It's not buying a new phone that is the business model.

1.) The device is stolen
2.) New device obtained. (some $$)
3.) Old device is activated by someone new (recurring new $$. Here is the money for the carrier)

Now, many many years ago, I was a cellular switching site manager (before we had the giant carrier we have now). When I learn how cellular worked, it was explicitly state the the devices had a thing called an ESN (electronic Serial Number). This was for activating the device AND stolen devices were SUPPOSED to go into a shared database that would be checked to assure stolen devices were not activated. The marketing manager was livid that such a thing could exist. Needless to say it's pretty obvious today how that worked out. There is no shared database of stolen devices in the US (North America?). There is in Europe.

'nuff said

Re:But, But... (2)

irving47 (73147) | about 10 months ago | (#43932869)

You're dead-on close... I used to work for a couple of resellers and it made me mad we didn't have databases at all when I knew as well as you what the ESN's and IMEI's could be used for in this regard.
We do have stolen device databases now... I believe they're still carrier specific at the moment, but they were to be combined this year or next, I think. Yeah, a marketing manager like that doesn't surprise me at all. Too bad the carriers wouldn't come up with that on their own, but hey, money is money.

Re:But, But... (2)

irving47 (73147) | about 10 months ago | (#43932877)

Forgot to mention the reason we suddenly got the databases... They were "voluntarily" created by the companies a few weeks (or was it days) they got called in front of congress wondering about what could be done...

Re:But, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932633)

Why in the hell is this insightful?

You've provided no support for your assertions other than "I feel it not to be true, so shut up".

Why exactly is it not a viable business model for companies to happily sell new phones to replace stolen ones? Let's be honest, someone gets their phone stolen, they don't go "oh well, no more phone for me." They curse and buy another.

planned obsolescence - proves you wrong (1)

decora (1710862) | about 10 months ago | (#43932971)

look, stealing is nothing different than a form of planned obsolescence.
every business school teaches planned obsolescence and how to use it to maximize profit.

now, lets imagine that you have a product where there is lower planned obsolescence. is that good or bad for your profit? thats right, its bad.

now lets imagine a product that gets stolen a lot vs one that doesnt. which one is more like planned obsolescence? Thats right. the stolen product. its good for profits.

a corporation that is interested in making a profit is actually practicing mismanagement when it implements a high quality anti-theft system.

Re:But, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932639)

I've been saying this about downloading for years. It is your right, nay, your duty to download movies in order for new movie sales to increase!

Are you serious? (3, Interesting)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 10 months ago | (#43932143)

industry-wide 'kill switch' system

It's really for stolen phones .. just like the kill switch for the internet was for emergency purposes. This has nothing whatsoever to do with cutting off people's means of communicating effectively with each other.

Re:Are you serious? (4, Informative)

sjwt (161428) | about 10 months ago | (#43932399)

LOL your so funny, cause if the Government wanted to or the phone provider wanted to they couldn't cut of your phone access any other way?

People don't get mugged for phones much out here in Australia, all you have to do is report the phone stolen and its blacklisted.. Not even doggy pawn shops take a phone without checking that. You would be left selling on ebay, even then the buyer would just file through Paypal to get their cash back.

Re:Are you serious? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#43932547)

LOL your so funny, cause if the Government wanted to or the phone provider wanted to they couldn't cut of your phone access any other way?

Yeah, lol, so funny... the government doesn't want or need a bunch of different ways to cut off or monitor your access to communications networks. They just need to cut the telegraph wire and they'll be all set. Oh, did I mention it's not the government that is pushing for a kill switch, but the citizens who are sick of watching several hundred dollar devices get stolen and law enforcement's lack of action even when the owner can point to a spot on the map and say the device is within a few feet of the glowing red dot? Sorry... probably shoulda mentioned that.

Re:Are you serious? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932807)

It is trivial to swap out the IMEI and unblacklist any phone. I guess you Aussies are just too fucking stupid to figure that out.

Re:Are you serious? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#43932825)

People don't get mugged for phones much out here in Australia, all you have to do is report the phone stolen and its blacklisted.

What's to stop somebody from reporting *YOUR* phone as stolen to inconvenience you?

Yes, there are people in the world that are demented enough that doing something like that would be enjoyable.... all they'd need to know is your phone number.

Re:Are you serious? (1)

rat7307 (218353) | about 10 months ago | (#43932949)

...and account details.... and password.... and a few other items of identification....

Not quite as simple as knowing the phone number.

But don't let that get in the way of your hyperbole.

Re:Are you serious? (2)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 10 months ago | (#43932463)

Why cut off a phone? Why not let the police use these amazing features the phones have to basically ring the cops and direct them to the thief? Boom, you get the phone back, and catch a thief (or someone receiving stolen goods, that lets you then investigate them/find the person who sold them the phone). Rather than fix the symptom of the stolen phone, why not go just that bit further to stop crime and catch the bad guys? Would anyone A) steal a phone knowing they'll be caught B) buy a cheap stolen phone knowing they'll be caught?

Re:Are you serious? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#43932513)

industry-wide 'kill switch' system

It's really for stolen phones .. just like the kill switch for the internet was for emergency purposes. This has nothing whatsoever to do with cutting off people's means of communicating effectively with each other.

Paranoia is fun, and often highly predictive; but only if you keep things architecturally realistic:

Does 'the man' want control over your communications, especially if they get caught with their pants down as in the London riots incident a while back? Sure, that's plausible enough.

Is there any reason why he would want a client-side kill switch to achieve this objective? That's a lot less convincing. A cellphone is worth approximately fuck-all without its network. Voila! control over communications is already in the hands of the (highly cooperative with the authorities, as long as it doesn't have anything to do with antitrust law, consumer protections, etc.) telcos... You can easily enough shut down service to given areas, or, thanks to the fact that carriers have cared about billing since forever, nuke individual undesirables without the slightest disruption to the rest of the network. Burning the handset just isn't necessary, and it's the mechanism that is most likely to be hacked, circumvented, or discovered and leaked at some hacker conference. Why bother?

Occupy Wallstreet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932739)

If you recall Occupy Wallstreet, there was a big city and only a few protestors. You can't cut the networks without all the big city being affected.

Take the warrantless data mining the NSA is doing, do a graph analysis on it, and you can easily identify and remove just the protestors right to communicate without it affecting the rest of the city. To do that you need to selectively remove just individual phones.

Add to this the new NY law making it a crime to annoy a police officer, which literally can make anyone a felon at the whim of an officer and you have suppression of protests right there:
http://boingboing.net/2013/06/06/new-york-senate-makes-it-a-fel.html

Rethink what friends you have. Do you have friends who oppose something? Or are 'for' something? Could that something be considered anti-American by any present or future government official? Then you will be linked by association.

If you have nothing to hide, AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW has nothing to hide, perhaps you'll be fine.

Re:Occupy Wallstreet (1)

Jockle (2934767) | about 10 months ago | (#43932769)

If you have nothing to hide, AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW has nothing to hide, perhaps you'll be fine.

Well, what you need to hide changes as the government changes. Something perfectly okay to normal people may be considered evil by the government. 'Nothing to hide, nothing to fear' truly is nonsensical, as you said.

Protestors as cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932893)

I think it's worth viewing protester as cancer cells. Occupy Wallstreet may have had majority support of Americans, but to the NSA the protestors were a cancer that needed to be surgically removed. The Statsi like surveillance and the new 'annoy' law, lets them surgically remove those protestors.

"Well, what you need to hide changes as the government changes"
The way they've done it, the NSA gets all the data on everyone with a 'FISA'. Then all searches are then warrantless on that data. They no longer need a warrant they can just tap in some details into the computer and trawl through all their private data, who they talk to, what messages they send, texts of their emails.

So you don't retroactively get to hide the data. Or even defend it from warrantless search, because they already have their copy. So the strategy of hiding different data as the government changes doesn't work.

Likewise the rule about the NSA not spying on Americans is irrelevant too, the FBI simply signs the FISA warrant for them, as you can see in the leaked warrant.

You have to be boring. As boring as possible, the only pictures you should take are of your cat, the only friends you should have are the guy who likes to drink beer and watch baseball.

This is your first warning, STASI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932549)

Dear Citizen

Your comments are monitored for your safety, under the new FRIENDLY STASI policy, we give you one warning when you make comments we deem to be 'un American'.

Consider this your first warning.

Re:Are you serious? (2)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#43932981)

No, it doesn't, because you can already do that. Remember, you are on the carriers network? He can deny service to you at any time, and he will if, for example, you didn't pay the bill.

If I'm the NSA and want to get you shut down, all I need is your name, address, birth date or whatever the carrier uses to identify you, and a nice letter to the carrier who'll roll over anyways.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932151)

I take Stolen Phones Seriously. But they're only good for a while and then they stop working. Then it's hard to take them seriously.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932749)

I take Stolen Phones Seriously

I always take them with a glass of water.

Why is it a consumer isue? (3, Funny)

waddgodd (34934) | about 10 months ago | (#43932163)

The NSA is listening in on everything anyways, why aren't they arresting phone thieves when they use the phones?

Re:Why is it a consumer isue? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 10 months ago | (#43932273)

Because the phone thieves aren't using them. They're selling them.

Re:Why is it a consumer isue? (1)

waddgodd (34934) | about 10 months ago | (#43932417)

You're not paying attention to all the "how I got my phone back" stories, are you? A substantial portion of phone thieves ARE using them, at least until they run out of minutes, that's how many of the "I got my phone back" stories work, the thief uses the phone to take a pic or something, it dutifully uploads the pic to their tumblr or whatever, then the victim does some rudimentary geolocation of the pic, and calls the po-po

Re:Why is it a consumer isue? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 10 months ago | (#43932507)

Way below pay grade. You're asking why police isn't kicking doors down with guns every time a a couple gets into a shouting match.

Re:Why is it a consumer isue? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#43932755)

Simple: declare the thieves as terrorists and have NSA sorting them out. How expensive (in terms of lobby) can this be for Bloomberg?

Cerberus is free today through AppGratis (4, Informative)

technomom (444378) | about 10 months ago | (#43932169)

The best best for Android is Cerberus. Seriously, it does everything that "Find my iPhone" does plus a few things it will never do. It's free today through AppGratis http://www.droid-life.com/2013/06/06/deal-cerberus-lifetime-license-is-free-today-from-appgratis/ [droid-life.com]

If you happen to have a rooted phone, there's even a ROM version which will survive a Factory Reset.

Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932193)

Given that we have such tools, why would we even need a kill switch?

Re:Exactly (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#43932757)

Given that we have such tools, why would we even need a kill switch?

You may not need it. The manufacturers do... every stolen and non-killed phone is a lost sale. Pretty much like pirating music or a movie, isn't it?

(ducks)

Re:Cerberus is free today through AppGratis (5, Informative)

pruss (246395) | about 10 months ago | (#43932465)

This may be rather good, but I've felt rather uncomfortable with closed source apps that are track a phone or wipe data, and especially ones that can survive a hard reset, so I spent a few hours and rolled together a super-simple, no-UI app (passwords are hardcoded into the source, so I am distributing this source-only: https://code.google.com/p/roottracker/ [google.com] ) that does basic phone tracking and wiping via SMS. I tried to make the source simple enough that one can easily verify the lack of backdoors.

Why not block by IMEI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932173)

They do this in Australia.

Works because all the telco's share some data/systems (also used for nation-wide porting etc).

Re: Why not block by IMEI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932185)

They do.

Why not block by IMEI -what the rest of world do. (4, Informative)

johnjones (14274) | about 10 months ago | (#43932247)

cut them off at the network... NYC are talking to the wrong people they need to speak to GSM and CTIA.

they do it in Europe as well the USA is very slow about this...

" Carriers AT&T and T-Mobile offer a joint database, as the carriers use the same basic networking technology. Verizon and Sprint offer a second database. By the end of November 2013, the four carriers will combine databases, and adding smaller carriers like Nex-Tech and Cellcom. Plans exist to link the US database with an international version hosted by the GSM Association to prevent stolen phones from being shipped to overseas markets and used on other networks."

Re:Why not block by IMEI -what the rest of world d (0)

mjwx (966435) | about 10 months ago | (#43932711)

cut them off at the network... NYC are talking to the wrong people they need to speak to GSM and CTIA.

they do it in Europe as well the USA is very slow about this...

This is a bit of a step backwards in actual security. A phone cut off from the network wont receive the wipe command from the MDM (Mobile Device Management).

Granted that in an ideal world users would not keep any vital data on a mobile device so all we have to worry about is locking the device out from accessing the data by remote but unfortunately we live in the real world where users think it's a good idea to store half the file system and 90% of their mail on these devices, so killing all network access is pointless.

And it wont deter thefts either. In Europe, if all German carriers block a stolen phone, they'll just hock it over the border in Poland. This wont be that much harder from the US given things like Ebay and cheap international shipping. Also you're seriously underestimating the number of suckers out there who will buy "Cheap Iphone, Network unlocked (not lying)".

Wrong target (2)

w1zz4 (2943911) | about 10 months ago | (#43932181)

The solution can only be good if provider are the one who are force to fix the issue. You need to realize provider will allow stolen phone on their network until they are force no do to so. The main reason that explain this is that they already lost the phone, if they don't reactivate it to the person who bought it on the street/pawn shop/craigslist, the profit that could be made on this phone is lost forever...

If VZW wont help, just call the NSA (4, Funny)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about 10 months ago | (#43932195)

They will know exactly where that bad boy is and who the theif is calling...

Re:If VZW wont help, just call the NSA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932407)

While they're at it maybe they can track down the guy who knocked out your front tooth.

Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932199)

What does Microsoft have to do with smartphones or theft?

WhatMeWorry!

Blame game (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932207)

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said overall crime in New York City was up 3.3% in 2012 due to iPhone, iPad and other Apple device thefts

It's Apple's fault that NYC is a crime ridden shit hole. If these disgusting companies would stop making products that people actually want New Yorkers wouldn't have to resort to robbing each other! Why can't Apple and Google be more like Microsoft!

Re:Blame game (4, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 10 months ago | (#43932717)

We are talking about Bloomberg here, the guy who blames large cups for obesity.

Re:Blame game (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 10 months ago | (#43932813)

We are talking about Bloomberg here, the guy who blames large cups for obesity.

It is standard dieting advice to limit portion sizes. I know there was one study that suggested that maybe that's not always true, but that one study could easily have been poorly designed, it seems like so many are nowadays.

I think the problem people have with his proposal is he didn't sell it. He should have have said that any place which sells soda by the cup but won't sell them larger than 16oz or whatever his target size was, would have a half-rate tax on all their soda fountain sales.

Re:Blame game (1)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#43932991)

And he would be right that they at least contribute to the problem, as studies have shown. So your point is?

Re:Blame game (1)

afidel (530433) | about 10 months ago | (#43932747)

Yes, it's such [cityrating.com] a crime ridden shithole... I'm not really a fan of NYC (I like to visit every once in a while but I could never imagine living there) but really, it hasn't been crime ridden since the 1980's.

Blacklist IMEI? (4, Informative)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 10 months ago | (#43932223)

Why can't they just blacklist the phone's IMEI [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Blacklist IMEI? (4, Insightful)

MavEtJu (241979) | about 10 months ago | (#43932287)

They said that in the article: It gets sold to a carrier which is not querying the US version of the Stolen Phone database.

We need something like DNS but then for IMEI numbers. .imei :-)

No Kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932253)

What we need is central industry DB that a stolen phone is registered to. Once registered to this DB no carrier in US would allow on their network.

Apple, Google, Blackbery would ban these devices from their servers also.

Amazon, Ebay and other resale services would require the seller to input a photo of the reg numbers from the phone. These would be registered on service and once registered to Ebay only can be posted 1 time until sold, once sold that seller can not re-use the info from that phone

If the user receives the phone and it doesn't match and is blacklisted buyer goes to police dept and files police report with info and submits to Ebay and they charge back user and don't get phone back as police wold keep as stolen property.

Any user who buys the phone on the street would have to go to web site and get cert of safety to prove they checked phone was not stolden. This cert would take 24hrs.

If they buy phone without checking and later it is found to have been slolden then they get to share in the charges from the person who committed crime. If he killed or maimed they get charges as accessories.

This would not keep 100% of crime down but would force the prices down to not make it worth it for criminals, Only the Apple/Google ban would beak for global resale

Re:No Kill (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#43932353)

What we need is central industry DB that a stolen phone is registered to. Once registered to this DB no carrier in US would allow on their network.

Apple, Google, Blackbery would ban these devices from their servers also.

You could have stopped right there. That alone would have negated a lot of the incentive of stealing phones in the first place.

If anyone buys a phone without checking and later it is found to have been slolden then they get to share in the charges from the person who committed crime. If he killed or maimed they get charges as accessories.

That rings far too much like "guilty until proven innocent".

It's stolen property... handle it identically to that. The possessor surrenders it to the authorities at their own expense.

Uh.. just get Prey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932263)

http://preyproject.com/
Prey lets you keep track of your laptop, phone and tablet whenever stolen or missing -- easily and all in one place. It's lightweight, open source software that gives you full and remote control, 24/7.

You can even run your own server if you want and be in full control.

Re:Uh.. just get Prey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932753)

Prey is shit, just a bunch of shell scripts run by cygwin and it uses Google to do the geo-locating based on IP, can't even hook up a real internal GPS. Configuration is a PITA too if you don't want to use their cloud rubbish.

Sounds like a comic book super hero job (3, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 10 months ago | (#43932267)

The phone is bait. It should commonly lead you to criminals who have done other illegal things. A super hero who retrieves phones just so he can honeypot get to the criminals would be legit. All he'd need to do is use GPS, then call the phone when he's in range and have a conversation with his prey before closing the distance and kicking tail.

I understand why real cops wouldn't want to retrieve phones. It would be easy to spot, but they would be encountering possibly violent criminals more often. No one wants to die even if they're doing their job more effectively.

Re:Sounds like a comic book super hero job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932643)

Sounds like a variation on Fast and Furious/Operation Wide Receiver. How did those work out?

Re:Sounds like a comic book super hero job (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 10 months ago | (#43932851)

I understand why real cops wouldn't want to retrieve phones. It would be easy to spot,

GPS can only really get you an address. It just isn't all that precise
So how do you search a 20 story apartment building for a stolen phone, without any specialized equipment?

[spoiler alert]You can't and don't[/spoiler]

Re:Sounds like a comic book super hero job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932891)

Uh, you wait for the guy with the phone to walk out of the apartment building? If you really have GPS from the phone, it shouldn't take long to figure out who has it once they start moving.

Re:Sounds like a comic book super hero job (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 10 months ago | (#43932929)

walk down the hallways with a short range directional microcell, and watch for the phone. Basic RDF tech, circa 1935 using a computer (so you can get a patent).

Kill the thieves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932297)

A little action a la Charles Bronson in "Death Wish" would go
a long way toward clearing up this problem.

Sure, you want my phone, motherfucker ?

It comes with six .45 ACP rounds as a bonus.

Poor old Apple users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932377)

First they get ripped off by Apple then the get mugged.
Would it not be simpler to learn that running around in public among people you do not know showing off expensive shiny things is just asking for trouble.

Bad Idea (2, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 10 months ago | (#43932433)

... Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft are due to meet and discuss the implementation of a industry-wide 'kill switch' system."

Soon to be highjacked by the job-creating content industry.

Oops, sorry, looks like you'd better stop pirating Mickey Mouse from 75 years ago if you want to make that emergency call!

IMEI blacklists, use them! (2)

Nichotin (794369) | about 10 months ago | (#43932447)

I am from a country where all the operators adhere to the CEIR blacklists. Phones are blocked by IMEI, and it is not necessarily trivial to change the IMEI on modern phones. The problem is that most users who have their phone stolen do not bother (or know how) to blacklist. Just reporting the phone stolen does not automatically blacklist it, one has to fill out a separate form for that. If something was done so that close to all stolen phones are blacklisted, stealing a phone would immediately become a lot less lucrative. At least from my experience in Norway, phones are stolen to resell locally or for the thief to use. Effective blacklisting would make sure that stealing a phone would only be feasible for anyone who would send them to a country where blacklists are not enforced, or someoene with the equipment and knowhow on changing IMEIs. This would pretty much rule out petty thiefs.

Re:IMEI blacklists, use them! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#43932557)

This would pretty much rule out petty thiefs.

It's more that it would require specialized fences, who would be easy to track due to the nature of cellphones, and the nature of the criminals who bring in the phones...

There already is a kill switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932485)

Each phone comes with an IMSI - people who can change them are not the targets of general crime prevention. Perhaps it might make sense to keep a "Do not connect" registry for stolen phones, rather than worrying about how to kill them? Congress is not responsible for my remote data policy - but is responsible for general social welfare -- mandating a kill switch seems stupid when it's far easier to create a database of "You're dealing in stolen property" that can be queried - as that is already a crime.

So what is the problem? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 10 months ago | (#43932501)

If you wallet is stolen, you don't expect to get any cash in in back. If your watch in stolen, or your TV, you should not expect to see either again.
And if your phone is stolen, like every other object on the planet, you most likely will not see it again.

Re:So what is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932667)

Because phones are bloody expensive and almost everyone has one, and because in some countries phone theft is the number one form of violent crime, it seems sensible to want to discourage it as much as possible. I currently have about five dollars worth of cash in my wallet plus an assortment of cards which can either be easily blocked or are tied to me personally in such a way that no thief would be able to do anything with them. In addition, where I live pickpocketing is being taken seriously by the police, so a thief has to ask himself whether the typically less than ten dollars is really worth doing time for. Why not be as serious about phone theft? Make it useless to steal them and the word will get around.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#43932537)

I hope that their bold plan merely involves IMEI blacklisting(though, if so, why are they inviting handset makers, rather than bitching at the telcos?); but if the demand is being made at the handset vendors, I get a sinking feeling that it might involve some sort of client-side software that is designed to be impossible to remove/circumvent. I'm sure that the vendors would implement that in way totally unproblematic for people who want to root/jailbreak/run custom ROMs...

It seems one of these is not like the others (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 10 months ago | (#43932559)

Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft

According to This site [winbeta.org] iOS has 59..49% of the market and Android 24.4% in the US. Windows Phone (1.21%) is being beaten out by BlackBerry (1.64%), Symbian (2.06%, and Java ME (10.2%). Very few people are buying Windows Phones, so how much of a market is there for stolen ones?

simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43932609)

don't flash your iphone around any place you wouldn't be comfortable flashing around a handfull of hundred dollar bills. leave it in your pocket/purse/bag. most ppl don't need to be instantly available 24/7. that pic someone sent you of a cat can wait 30 min until you're somewhere else. if you think you can't live life this way it get into the way back machine and remember life 15 yrs ago.

Re:simple (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 10 months ago | (#43932863)

don't flash your iphone around any place you wouldn't be comfortable flashing around a handfull of hundred dollar bills.

The problem is that you shouldn't be flashing handfuls of hundred dollar bills anywhere public.
One of the major advantages of these devices is to use then anywhere, even if you do not use them as phones.

Hell in Chicago you can access CTA vehicle information --including when the next vehicle is approaching your stop via internet. But the stop is almost certainly a bad place to flash your device.

On Verizon Wireless (2)

Silver Surfer 1 (193024) | about 10 months ago | (#43932641)

When a phone is reported lost or stolen the MEID and the SIM card # are added to a list and cannot be used on the VZW network. Often though the first thing a

competent thief will due is turn the phone off preventing any GPS locating software to track the phone. The phone will either be sold to a person who does not

check the MEID # (and when they try and do an ESN change will be told the phone is on the lost stolen list and to please take the phone into a VZW Corp. store.)

Or they take the phone someplace like Cricket and they will flash the phone to work on the Cricket network. Another option is the phone will be parted out.

2 things (3, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 10 months ago | (#43932793)

I own a microsoft powered phone, no one wants it

What happens when "hackers" get hold of this kill switch?

Absolute Software... (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 10 months ago | (#43932911)

Absolute Software has been in the business of tracking and recovering stolen computers for years. They've recovered nearly 29,000 stolen computers, and they've just expanded to phones - Samsung has just integrated their technology in the firmware level on the S4, with other devices coming soon. Their tracking agent will survive a phone reset and their forensic tools (deployed post-theft) mean that they can actually catch the guy that knocked you over the head and stole your phone.

http://www.zdnet.com/new-lojack-solution-for-galaxy-s4-makes-theft-meaningless-7000016433/ [zdnet.com]

Unlike a software solution only, the Absolute Software LoJack system is both a hardware and software solution. Starting with the Samsung Galaxy S4, Absolute's persistence technology is built into the firmware of the S4 and cannot be removed, even if the device is restored to factory settings.

The Galaxy S4 has the technology built in now, but the necessary Absolute software solution is not yet available. When it is available, you will be able to remotely lock your device, locate it, erase the data from the device and storage card, or have the Absolute Investigation and Recovery Services Team attempt to recover it.

The Recovery Team is made up of experts from law enforcement, the FBI, the Marines, the US Army, and other government positions. To date, they have recovered 28,000+ devices (laptops and PCs) in over 95 countries.

maybe you should solve the actual problems (-1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 10 months ago | (#43932925)

Again, the U.S.A. is a totally screwed up culture. Instead of making the phones resist theft, perhaps, just perhaps, you ought to modify your culture so your people don't choose to steal phones in the first place. You're not talking about an individual here. You're talking about hundreds of thousands of persons!

Try fixing the problem for once. You don't want hundreds of thousands of criminals in your city. You really don't want hundreds of thousands of criminals with nothing to steal, by the way.

"Industry-wide" (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about 10 months ago | (#43932939)

As if anyone's hard-up enough to steal an Android or Windows phone. "iPhone, iPad and other Apple device thefts"

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