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.”