AT&T to launch new service to block service to stolen phones

Wed, Jul 11, 2012


Well it seems that iPhone users on AT&T will soon have another weapon at their disposal should they find themselves the victims of an iPhone theft.

According to The Verge, AT&T this week is planning to launch a new service that will enable users to block voice, data, and SMS access for a stolen device while not having to go through a full SIM block.

According to the guidance, AT&T will compile a “blocklist” of stolen devices and service will be automatically suspended “if any attempt is made to use a device that is stored in the blocklist.” The only way to add a device to the list will be by contacting a customer service representative directly, and users with remote data wipe apps will be required to activate them before suspending their device, to “prevent access to their personal information.”

The new security measure is set to take effect this coming Tuesday. The report also notes that AT&T will not be keeping a centralized directory of stolen devices, which is to say that the only way for a device to get unblocked is for the original person who blocked it to undo it.

Also note that AT&T’s new initiative is completely separate from yet another initiative undertaken jointly by the largest US carriers in conjunction with the FCC to create a database of stolen cellphones.

Last April, the USA Today reported that crime reduction was a major impetus behind the initiative.

Within six months, when Americans call their participating wireless provider and report their wireless devices stolen, their provider will block that device from being used again. This system will be rolling out globally using common databases across carriers over the next 18 months.

Smartphone and cellphone thefts made up 30% to 40% of all robberies in 2011 in major U.S. cities, accounting for as many as 27,000 thefts, police say. More than 40% of all robberies in New York City involve pricey phones. And thefts are on the rise in Washington, D.C., too, where 1,611 of last year’s 4,208 robberies (38%) involved them.

via The Verge



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