Major U.S. Carriers Agree to Develop Centralized Database to Track Stolen Mobile Phones


kingtj

macrumors 68030
Oct 23, 2003
2,506
637
Brunswick, MD
Truly excellent news ....

Now, all the people I'm angry with and want to pay back for something? I can just call and report their phone stolen so it gets shut off and rendered useless!

this is only good news, only thieves or people complicit in stolen phones would oppose this.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,057
49
Bristol, UK
Now, all the people I'm angry with and want to pay back for something? I can just call and report their phone stolen so it gets shut off and rendered useless!
That wouldn't be possible.

You would only be able to block a device that has been registered/used with your carrier's account.

If you sold a phone and then did that (I'm not sure why you would), then you'd be breaking the law and it would catch up with you eventually.
 

justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
10,119
5,184
Home is everywhere and nowhere.
This is just plain incorrect on both counts, some very old phones can have their IMEIs changed but all new phones the IMEI is hard coded into the phones and cannot be changed, this list would stop any network connectivity on the stolen phones and not stop them from activating.

if you are somehow (incorrectly) scared that this list can track you then you're too late a mobile phones IMEI is already given to every Mast you connect to but it is the SIM ID that would be used to track you which gives your phone it's mobile account with your network.
Is it, the software on a phone controls the whole phone including sending the imei, and if that is the case then the firmware could be hacked, probably very hard to do but theoretically can be done.
 

kingtj

macrumors 68030
Oct 23, 2003
2,506
637
Brunswick, MD
I was just making a point ....

If your partner has a cellphone, there's a real good chance you can get access to his/her account information, to do such a thing. Just wait and see how often this comes up in divorce battles or bad breakups!


That wouldn't be possible.

You would only be able to block a device that has been registered/used with your carrier's account.

If you sold a phone and then did that (I'm not sure why you would), then you'd be breaking the law and it would catch up with you eventually.
 

C. Alan

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2009
309
5
I kind of surprises me that it took them this long to create a stolen phone data base. I would have thought this would have happened much sooner.
 

vincenz

macrumors 601
Oct 20, 2008
4,249
125
This is good news. Theft of the devices would go down for sure, but I also see thieves stealing phones to break them down for parts to sell. Still, better than having no system at all.
 

Cubytus

macrumors 65816
Mar 2, 2007
1,413
14
Who wants to be the conspiracy theorist that thinks they are compiling this database so it is easier to track us?
Carriers can already track you easily if so they wish. Or the Police. If you don't want to be tracked, just leave your cell phone at home.

The GSMA also have this and all members have access, however it only works for GSM phones.

This new system will work with any wireless technology. Since the GSMA refused to include CDMA carriers into their system, they really forced a break with their system.
CDMA is non-world-standard. So incentive to steal a CDMA device is really low.

unless you dropped $200-300 on ebay or CL in which case you would be a victim. :(
That's your business to ensure that the seller has a clean record. If in doubt, just don't buy. It's not as if there were only a few iPhone to sell on eBay. CL can be a treasure, but most often, it's junk. I would never trust a high-value transaction to stem from CL unless I have a gun at my side.


More seriously, one just can't wait to see Canada follow suit. At the rate my country is moving on telephony issues, we'll see when I get grey hair (red-haired guys never grey out :() If we eventually follow suit, I know a guy in a black SUV next to the subway station who will have to file for bankrupcy ;).

Even police doesn't want to track stolen phones although they have the technology and legal power to do so, arguing that since it is stolent, there's a high chance they would find an "innocent" person, the one who bought the stolen phone. (true story)

My concern is that individuals can't access the database themselves. If IMEI is burnt-in the phone, there's no way it could be changed. How can an individual seller on eBay prove his merchandise isn't stolen?
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,596
1,184
Georgia
Although this list does sound like a good idea. In reality it will just end up hurting two people. The original victim and the person buying the stolen phone thinking it is legitimate. Sure you can check a database. However the vast majority of people won't know of the database. If they do they won't know how to check.

So this can hurt legitimate used phone sales as well. As people will not want to risk the possibility of screwing up the checking and buying a stolen phone or buying one that clears which has not yet been stolen.

Thieves would likely take the tact of selling quicker before the owner realizes it was stolen or missing rather than misplaced. They would eventually get longer lead times as owners would wait longer to report a missing phone. In case they find it later.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,057
49
Bristol, UK
If your partner has a cellphone, there's a real good chance you can get access to his/her account information, to do such a thing. Just wait and see how often this comes up in divorce battles or bad breakups!
In the roughly 6 years since the system was introduced here, I've never heard of anything like that.
 

starkjs

macrumors newbie
Apr 10, 2012
2
0
Melbourne
This is too funny, the standards have had an EIR part of the network (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_Switching_Subsystem#Equipment_identity_register_.28EIR.29 and has been part of the GSM standards from the start, in the USA, since they went with CDMA, the handset has a hard coded IMEI equivalent and have been able to block stolen handsets too. It's just they have not done so in the past, as a handset on the network gets them revenue.

Sounds like the government has forced them to actually enforce the use of an EIR and block stolen handsets.

About time and good to see :)

By the way, an EIR can see if there is duplicate IMEI on the network and can just block all the handsets that are cloned. They also know every time you swap your SIM into another phone and what SIMs you use in your phone too.

I have worked on this equipment for the last 10 years and from first hand experience, the rest of the world has been using it from the start.

In Oz, it was enforced by the ACCC about 8yrs ago. The UK has also been enforcing the blocking of stolen handsets for about the same amount of time too.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,057
49
Bristol, UK
Although this list does sound like a good idea. In reality it will just end up hurting two people. The original victim and the person buying the stolen phone thinking it is legitimate. Sure you can check a database. However the vast majority of people won't know of the database. If they do they won't know how to check.
This could be an issue, but I don't think that people "handling stolen goods" are top of my concerns right now.

Testing the device itself would be a good indicator - as would asking for packaging, proof of purchase etc. If someone's just selling you a phone with no charger or packaging, something's fishy.

As an aside, I don't think the database would be made available to the general public for privacy reasons.
 
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pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,040
65
Plymouth, MN
You'd give the police the license plate number of your car if it was stolen wouldn't you?
A VIN would be more useful than your plate number which is easy for a thief to swap. Answer is still the same of course...

Carriers can already track you easily if so they wish. Or the Police. If you don't want to be tracked, just leave your cell phone at home.
Heck, cell phones wouldn't work if the carriers didn't know what towers they hit (which are only so accurate anyhow). That's the magic of how cell phones work. Carriers can have been able to track (log) usage from day one.
 

clibinarius

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2010
665
62
NY
Most thieves aren't that smart. They're going to craigslist as soon as they get it.
Don't underestimate thieves. Gangs will start buying them, and people will know where they can get cash for them, and they'll get bartered internationally for another blacklisted commodity. Too easy to get caught on Craigslist, only small timers would go there, and that's not gonna cut into the real trading of these things.
 

Winter Charm

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2008
803
268
It's nice to see the carriers doing something right for a change.

While find my iPhone is nice, this added layer makes stealing phones less desirable which is always a Plus for us smartphone users :)
 

ghostface147

macrumors 68030
May 28, 2008
2,782
2,161
Time to be more diligent on Craigslist and ebay. There are going to be a lot of upset customers who didn't do their homework.
 

joeip77

macrumors newbie
Dec 15, 2011
13
0
Greedy Bast##ds

This is a process that was in place along time ago.Alongggggg time ago)
Its just that att and apple are double dipping. Both are profiting off of stollen iPhones.
Slimy Greedy Bast##ds. About a year and a half ago my iPhone was stollen and after filing a police report and getting all kinds of bald face lies from apple and ATT about how they have never heard of a blacklist database. Nothing ever happened. (they could have though)
Finally I hope that this really will come to pass. Its just funny that so many people don't know that this has been going on.

Sad Times (Greedy Big Companies)