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

 

Reader comments

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

44 Comments

It already has started. (T-Mobile)
Gone will be the days of reporting your lost phone stolen.

Now, how do we stop people from sitting on phones that they put in their back pockets.

Not the smartest place to have a fragile high priced device in the first place.

Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, K00949438Yd FRAMILY!

We make skinny jeans a thing of the past, laugh at people that wore them, proceed to put phone in front pocket. Or buy a g-flex.

Posted via Android Central App

Hey all you Android boys... WHERE YA BEEN? BlackBerry has had these features for over 5 years. On the old legacy devices and all the new BB10 OS devices.

I'm sorry. The question should be where has Blackberry been for the past couple of years. Cheers bro.

Nexus 5...enough said

Jeddo, I do believe the BlackBerry Z30 beats the Nexus 5 in a lot of competitions....Nexus 5 is a great phone but BlackBerry does have competition. Take the blinders off.

My question has nothing to do with your opinion about my Nexus 5 and your Blackberry. I'm just saying, where has Blackberry been? Oh that's right, the iphone came out, android came out, and Blackberry was left in the dust...

Nexus 5...enough said

Didn't know that was your signature.

Yes BlackBerry has been missing the boat for years but now they have a great complete OS and great devices.

Eh, no hard feelings. I came off like a jerk. To be honest, I'd go to Blackberry before i looked or touched a Windows phone or iphone.

Nexus 5...enough said

Android has had apps that will do this for several years, too. Let's not turn this into a pissing match, OK?

One thing they could do now is password protect shutting down a phone or putting it on airplane mode. In some cases it won't work, but at least with phones with sealed batteries, it makes it harder to getaway with.

Nexus 5...enough said

Good idea! I worry that if I lost my phone that someone could just turn on airplane mode and then I'd never find it on Google Device Manager.

3000 volt discharge on command. You could even use the Google push messaging system to "queue" it if they turned the phone off. That would probably make some people think twice about stealing some phones.

Or maybe something like what Blade had in the hilt of his sword. That might get a little messy, though ;)

Better to keep them from happy wives and girlfriends, as them getting the password turns them angry.

Posted via Android Central App

What I would like to see is a security protocol that works over regular cell service, like SMS.

Also, to have each device ID, regardless of sim card, associated with each user.

Posted via Android Central App

And there are a few more "geeky" options to do this also (tasker, automateit). Send a text>perform some action (like text gps location back to the number that sent the "secret phrase", or enable lock screen, or run a recovery script (like factory reset, or even wipe partitions)). I had a few in place the before Android device manager came along. Non-geeks should definitely get some more assistance to make this stuff easy.

Then why steal it? For a music player? Doubt it. This is GREAT! CAN'T come soon enough! I know there are similar functionality you like this already said in place but the fact that the carrier is finally getting behind it is awesome.

The concern is that someone will steal it, then immediately pull the battery or put the device in airplane mode so that you can't track it, then sell it to a pawnshop or something. The problem comes in that, if someone knows what they're doing, they can "erase/reset" the device without ever connecting it to a network.

I'm genuinely curious, how do anti-theft measures hurt the used phone market beyond deterring the resale of stolen phones?

Same here. If the phone isn't stolen you have nothing to worry about.

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

It will hurt the resale market less if it means devices have built in security features with remote access, so that less people have to report their IMEI numbers.

Not really. It will just make the seller have to jump through one hoop before selling the phone. I doubt it would be a major deterrent.

Posted from one of an unnecessarily large collection of Nexus devices because I'm That Guy

As it is now, these stolen phones just get sold to unsuspecting people looking for a deal. Then they call in, find out they can't activate the phone, and they're out of luck. I'm failing to see how the new measures would prevent this.

Google font do this already. Android device manager doesn't render a device unusable, it just wipes it. Find my iPhone does do that.

Posted via Android Central App

Android Device Manager?? I thought this technology was already out? Apple has something to out already, no?

Nexus 4 - CM10.1.3

Yes, both Google and Apple have these features already, but now everyone's getting together to make it "standard". As it stands now, you have to know it's available and turn it on.