Idea alert

by Aaron Wherry

NDP MP Mike Sullivan proposes a stolen cellphone registry.

A local MP and police in northwest Toronto are calling for a national stolen cellphone registry to stop an epidemic of thefts in their area and across the city. Mike Sullivan, MP for York South-Weston, says the CRTC must act quickly to create a registry of identification numbers from stolen cellphones and ask providers not to reactivate phones on that list…

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, along with major wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, announced in April they would create a national database of identification numbers that are unique to each phone. Cellular carriers will use the list to permanently disable stolen phones. Until now, U.S. carriers have only been disabling SIM cards, which can be swapped in and out of phones to turn them on for service.




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Idea alert

  1. Can’t wait to see this puppy tender.

  2. I’m not seeing a downside. And yet, I have a tingly sensation that there is one. Could someone please help my brain to understand what my body knows?

    • That it wouldn’t stop the underlying problem, because:

      - Many smartphones, such as the iPhone and better Android devices, have a lot of non-phone capabilities that would remain valuable;
      - Even if disabled in a way that an ingenious hacker couldn’t work around, there’s still valuable parts in it, and if nothing else, stripping gold from circuit boards;
      - When it’s a mugging on or near school grounds, the monetary value of theft is probably less relevant than the bullying and intimidation aspects of the encounter;
      - A cellphone registry would do as much to stop cellphone theft as the motor vehicle registry does to stop car theft – it makes thieves’ jobs a little harder, but doesn’t really prevent it from happening.

      • The only thing that would stop the underlying problem is too kill everybody. or distribute all property equally. Neither is really acceptable.

        As to other data. iPhones can be tracked remotely by the original owner, and even set to be wiped remotely.

        Disassembly for gold bits is too much work for the actual thief. They would rather quickly sell it. Knowing the consequent stolen object is useless might certainly put a crimp in this activity.

        Otherwise, theft for status will continue. This isn’t a problem that tracking phones alone can cure. See first paragraph.

      • Not to mention they can still be sold and used outside of Canada.

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