Firms Refuse to Cut Service to Stolen Kindles, iPhones

Product producers often know who stole a device, but won't say
By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2009 8:50 AM CDT
IPhone service provider AT&T is little help in tracking downcell phone thieves, or cutting off service to the crooks, say victims.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – Digital gadget manufacturers may know who stole your cell phone, satellite radio or ebook reader, because they're often registered and used by the thief. But good luck getting tech companies to share that information, or even to shut off service to the device, reports the New York Times. Angry consumers believe companies would rather continue making money with the new criminal-owners than turn them in.

Amazon can easily block a stolen Kindle from downloading books, for example, but will only do so if contacted by a police officer with a subpoena. “I concluded that Amazon knew the device was being used and preferred to sell content to anyone who possessed the device, rather than assist in returning it to its rightful owner," said one victim who lost his Kindle to a thief. Amazon is hardly alone. Sirius XM Radio and iPhone distributor AT&T have similar policies.
(Read more Sirius XM stories.)