Canadian carriers to create stolen cell phone blacklist

In a move to ward off government regulation, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) will start checking that any new phone authorized on a network hasn’t been reported as stolen, it announced today.

Any wireless device connected to a Canadian carrier network will include verification that the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) hasn’t been reported as stolen. If the device is blacklisted, it will be denied service. That move is designed to reduce the value of smartphones acquired via five-finger discount.

There have been increasing reports of mobile device theft in Canada. (Photo: Shutterstock)

To that end, the CWTA has launched a new Web site at ProtectYourData.ca for Canadians to learn about ways to secure their mobile data, and to protect against device theft. A checklist it provides to avoid being robbed include these tips:

  • - Avoid walking in the dark in unfamiliar areas
  • - Walk with confidence to deter thieves
  • - Don’t text and walk.
  • - Use mp3 players and other device discreetly at all times

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave the CWTA a pat on the back for their efforts. CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais passed on his congratulations, saying the commission has been concerned for some time about increased reports of lost or stolen cell phones.

The database of lost or stolen devices will help the situation, he writes in a statement. The industry should implement it before September 2013 so Canadians can benefit “as soon as possible.” More details are expected at the end of November, including how data on lost or stolen cell phones in Canada will be addressed.

The CRTC first contacted the CWTA about its concern over mobile device theft July 17. It asked for a statistical breakdown of reported device thefts and a report on what it was doing to address the issue.

U.S. wireless carriers will also be putting a similar mechanism in place by November 2013.

Source | Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association

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