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FCC's Wheeler Lauds Phone Theft Prevention Report

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Dec 9, 2015, 7:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today said the FCC Technological Advisory Council's Mobile Device Theft Prevention Working Group Report provides workable suggestions for curbing smartphone theft. Wheeler tasked the group earlier this year to investigate how best to cut down the number of phones stolen from U.S. consumers. The group delivered its report this week and makes three core recommendations. The group believes more on-device theft deterrents are needed, such as biometrics to keep them locked. It believes phone makers can better protect the unique numbers assigned to handsets (IMEI) to prevent new, clean identifying numbers being given to stolen phones. Last, it describes a clear way to generate a global database of stolen phones that operators will be able to check quickly. "Smart phone theft is a global problem that causes real harm in a variety of ways. It results in the loss of valuable devices, it often entails physical harm to the victim of the theft, and it can lead to disclosure of vital and confidential personal information stored on the stolen devices," said Wheeler. "While much work remains, the working group's report establishes the critical components of a holistic effort to eliminate smart phone theft." The group plans to continue its research. The CTIA and its constituents have already agreed to employ a number of preventative tools, such as passwords and remote lock/wipe.

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