FCC to Kill Stolen Phones

New database will allow carriers to identify, shut down phones
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2012 11:41 AM CDT
Damage to a mobile phone shop is seen in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Pretty soon, a stolen cellphone will be "as worthless as an empty wallet," Charles Schumer boasted in a statement yesterday, touting a new deal between the FCC and major cellphone carriers that will allow the carriers to shut down pilfered phones. The FCC has agreed to set up a database of unique identifier numbers for every phone in America, the AP explains.

When a phone is reported stolen, carriers will be able to use that number to shut it down; until now, they've only been able to deactivate SIM cards, which can be swapped out, allowing the phone to be resold. Schumer is also introducing legislation making it a federal crime to tamper with a phone's ID number. By the NYPD's count, a whopping 42% of all property crimes in the city last year involved a phone.

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