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


macrumors P6
I'm not saying stop this program, but I see no need for it...even if #1 was my only point. Don't lose your phone. Buy an extended warranty coverage if you think you have a good chance of losing it.
Insurance is one reason why carriers would like to lock stolen/lost phones. It prevents customers from reporting a fake loss just to get another device.

They already can. Federal law requires that all phones have GPS and the carriers have the means at any time to locate the phone. They are only supposed to use that means with a search warrant but they have the ability to do it at any time they wish
Federal law does not require a GPS in each phone. Certainly it's not common in regular GSM devices.

CDMA is a different story. Verizon has included A-GPS in almost all its phones since the turn of the century. Partly to give accurate E911 locations, and partly so that they could sell location based services like car navigation even on cheap phones.

You don't need to buy a GPS phone for hou to be tracked. Ever heard of triangulation? That's how the 911 tracks a phone that has called in, even if it's longer and less precise than GPS. In urban environments, there's a fair chance they would never find a precise, stolen phoneusing only positioning. So, smply deactivating it makes sense.
With AT&T phones, the towers triangulate a phone when you call 911. The phone is totally unaware of this happening. As you say, it's not super accurate in many cases, often about football field distance or more, but it's fast and cheap.

With Verizon phones, the phone itself receives GPS signals and passes them on to the network to finish calculating the phone's E911 position, including using known local radio echoes and current GPS atmospheric conditions. Your position can be calculated quite closely. Only if the GPS signal is unavailable (like inside a basement) does the network fall back on triangulation.
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macrumors 603
Jun 4, 2007
This will be great as the reduce phones as targets of theft. Although an iPhone could still work as a touch.

The issue will come in the resale market as people are potentially sold phones reported as stolen or reported as stolen after the fact. Then the seller might volunteer to get it unblocked for a small fee

I don't care about the secondary resale market so I see some benefit to it. Of course phones could be stolen for repair parts too.


macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2014
this is only good news, only thieves or people complicit in stolen phones would oppose this.
Well, I may be classified by you as being "complicit" in stolen phones as I am sure at least one of those discounted phones that I bought off of Craigslist was stolen, but I don't care about this either way. No matter how many databases the government sets up, no matter how many IMEI's get registered, no matter what hardware or software kill switches are added, if someone wants to steal something, they will. Preventative measures in this case, in reality, are actually proactive. The thieves are the ones who are leading with the anti-theft advocates playing catch-up. This is simple, if you don't want your phone stolen, don't leave it on the table at Starbucks when you go to change your baby's diaper. Don't leave it in your cup holder when you run inside to pay for gas. Keep it with you, that's what those crazy holes in the sides of you pants are for, keeping things. Quit asking lawmakers and device manufacturers to invent things to replace YOUR COMMON SENSE