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Manufacturers and carriers get together to bring anti-theft tools to smartphones

smartphone theft

Apple, Google, and Microsoft are but a few of the names that have announced a commitment to including features to deter smartphone theft in all future products. Even the carriers are on board, with the big four announcing support and commitment as well.

What they're all committing to is the "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment." All phones sold by the signees after July 2015 will offer, at no additional cost, the following tools and services:

  • Remote wipe the authorized user’s data (i.e., erase personal info that is added after purchase such as contacts, photos, emails, etc.) that is on the smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.
  • Render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user (e.g., locking the smartphone so it cannot be used without a password or PIN), except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user (e.g., “phone home”).
  • Prevent reactivation without authorized user’s permission (including unauthorized factory reset attempts) to the extent technologically feasible (e.g., locking the smartphone as in 2 above).
  • Reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible (e.g., restored from the cloud).

This is a pretty big deal. While not everyone will use these tools or keep them active, having them available may make a dent in the number of smartphones stolen each year. And while both Apple and Google already provide such a service, having it pre-installed and shown to the user from day one should increase the number of folks actively using tools like this.

We're eagerly awaiting our chance to see how it all works. For more, follow the source link below.

Source: CTIA

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Reader comments

Manufacturers and carriers get together to bring anti-theft tools to smartphones

68 Comments

Bugger just shows to keep your wits about you then I always have hands over my phone or what ever when out and about there's always some arsehole out to get you I suppose

Having a stranger plunge their hands into my front pocket, eh? I'd hope they'd at least buy me a drink first...

Funny cause BlackBerry has had these features for over 5 years. On the old legacy devices and all the new BB10 OS devices.

 

I put it in my back pocket all the time. All you need is to train your butt to sense to even little movement and vibration ;)

I wonder if these features are based on the imei of the phone... It would suck if they get their hands on it and just do a hard reset...

They specifically just said it would prevent an unauthorized factory reset. Also, doesn't apple prevent that? I have tried to restore an iPhone by putting into Recovery mode through iTunes and it STILL prevents a reset because it prompts for a password. So it might be based on the hardware ID of the device after all.

This... While there aren't many NFC payment terminals in the US, it'd be nice if AT&T would let me use the ones that do exist.

Sounds nice, they're far and few in between here. Of course, my area is dominated by iPhones, so that's likely why there hasn't been much incentive to provide NFC payment terminals.

Not that it matters, because AT&T won't provide the necessary SIM cards...

Come to Verizon...but you'd have to use ISIS. I haven't been able to use it yet since it isn't supported on Windows Phone just yet. (so nevermind, I guess?)

Heh, hopefully someday the option will be available across all our carriers. I've taken a renewed interest in this after the 8.1 update. It has a whole new control panel for NFC payments.

How about they implement it I say its lost or stolen they make it explode so nothing is reusable like even the parts of the phone. :)

Guess so, it's possible to call emergency number's without sim card installed. Somehow strange why we can't track our phones by imei numbers already, since carriers can block a phone via imei.

If no data connection or sim card, track my phone does not work. Mobile networks already block iemi numbers on stolen phones.

Here's an idea on the scale of the problem:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-26979061

Until IEMI is burned to the ROM then it can be able easily bypassed. I'd also like to see companies step up to the plate and have devices encrypted by default, WP can do this but only through some Byzantine steps and it's something that should be easily available to the person on the street.

No it has not. You can wipe the phone without authorization and if you simply remove or replace the SIM then it can't be tracked with Find My Phone.

Not everything on this list. Though Microsoft has been good here since Windows Mobile 6.

I think Apple and Google are also partial but very close on this list too.

I wonder if they will manage to create a device that makes sure carriers stop stealing from us with their way overpriced cellphone plans.

Google's Android does NOT have such features built in, unless something changed in Kit-Kat.

But iOS and Windows Phone are the only two platforms of the Big Three that have built in phone teaching options, remote ring and remote lock + data wipe.

Apple also has a slight edge over Windows Phone, thanks to the Activation Lock feature introduced in iOS 7.

Why would you not use this??? A smartphone is a way of life and it it so personal that stealing this should be equal to kidnapping (ok so that's too extreme lol)

Why not install a small red ink that will trigger by owner, which cause the ink explode and fried the motherboard. This will ensure the phone will ever be useable again.

first, the battery must not be removed by any means
second: completelly destroy any user data and ROM data after a Forced Factory Reset using those unlock boxes available in Paraguay, for example.
And fingerprint authentication. Here in brazil, is so easy to make a locked phone to work again, that the thiefs still laughing about this...
 

Well, as long as it can be disassembled, anything is possible. Sure it would give a hard time for common street pickpockets though.

The best anti-theft tool will be self dectruct system that can be activated by sending an encrypted message, or email.

This is more useful if I should ever lose my phone. Phone theft, or even general theft, isn't usually an issue in my country (I've never known anyone to be pick-pocketed or mugged). But yes, heaps of people lose their phones and quite often those phones are never returned.

WP has a hidden secret. IP address that may be tracked via cell or GPS. WP has surpassed BB in security measures.

The IP is assigned to the ICCID/MEID and is dynamic but with power off becomes static. MS can track from last location and next power on. As long as location is enabled or Exchange, Good, GEN security is enabled.

LOL the article states that Apple and Google already provide such a service. Well bud I hate to be the bearer of news that you should have known, SO DOES MICROSOFT... This is copied from My Windows Phone page: "Find, ring, lock or erase your phone"

Ok, now why, do we need the carriers /Governemt involved... just another thing that they will find a way to charge us for.... Sheeesh

Its good that you bringing an anti theft tools ,so mobile cant be thefted and make sure while creating it that you must give that app for free because paid app are already in store and wont make you different from others. Be different from others,dont you love your customer....