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.