Rise in smartphone thefts prompt joint effort by carriers, FCC

In an attempt to curb what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski has described as the "growing epidemic" of mobile thefts, joint efforts are now underway by cellphone providers, police, regulators and legislators.

The joint efforts to stop an increase in incidents of smartphone thefts will involve the cellular industry's looming announcement of a new country-wide database for preventing the use of stolen smartphones. The move will further gain strength from a bill - proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N. Y - which will make it illegal to evade the database.

The database will become fully operational over the next year-and-half, and cellphone service providers have promised to extend full cooperation topwards the mechanism which will help prevent stolen smartphones from being used on other US or overseas networks.

Meanwhile, about the increasing instances of smartphone thefts, Genachowski said in a recent e-mailed notice that over smartphone and other wireless-device robberies currently comprise over 40 percent of all thefts in New York City, and 38 percent of all thefts in Washington D. C.

Further adding that a centralized database of lost or stolen cellphone information will help check a "big crime trend," Genachowski said that mobile carriers, led by Verizon Wireless and AT&T, had consented to giving the authorities a helping hand in curbing a rise in device thefts by disabling handsets which are reported stolen.