Senator Wants Wireless Companies To Do More To Disable Stolen Phones

In an effort to discourage cell phone theft and fraud, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has asked wireless companies to do more than disabling a stolen phone’s SIM card. He wants the whole phone bricked so it can never be used again.

“Deactivate the phone so it is no longer valuable on the black market — like a car without a motor,” said Schumer over the weekend, speaking to reporters outside an AT&T store in Manhattan. The Senator says the technology to permanently disable pilfered phones already exists.

Schumer has a local interest in pushing wireless providers on this matter. New York City ranks second in the nation behind Miami in cell phone theft.

From the NY Daily News:

The NYPD said 41% of all theft complaints involve a stolen cell phone, and reports of stolen cell phones skyrocketed 18% in the first three months of the year. If that pace holds, reports for stolen cell phones could hit 11,328 this year, up from 10,650 in 2009.

A rep for AT&T defended the company’s existing policies to the NY Daily News: “But if you are a customer of ours, and lose or think your cell phone has been stolen, we deactivate it immediately. And no one can use it.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer calls for tougher stolen cell phone regulation [NY Daily News]