US carriers can now block activation of stolen smartphones if they head abroad

@ 2013/11/29
US wireless umbrella group CTIA has announced that a stolen phone database launched last year by T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon is now finished and integrated with international carriers' lists. The latter was an important aspect of the plan, since US law enforcement officials complained that thieves were simply dumping devices oversees where their serial numbers couldn't be detected. Police would prefer to also see kill switches installed in handsets to truly put a dent in phone-knapping, but carriers have strenuously objected to that idea -- strictly out of self-interest, according to some. For its part, the CTIA said that the completed database at least means there are fewer countries where organized gangs can hawk their stolen wares. Still, as the carrier group pointed out, if a stranger asks to "borrow" your phone for directions, just, don't.

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