Tech Report: Police Want To Disable Stolen Phones

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said that half of all robberies in the city involve electronic devices, with thieves increasingly targeting smartphones.

Suhr and a group of chiefs from other cities are now calling on the Federal Communications Commission to require that carriers disable phones that have been stolen.

KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid said this is not something new.

“This is already done in Australia and the U.K. The chiefs aren’t alone as Senator Schumer from New York is also trying to get the FCC to do this,” said Magid.

KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid:

But the phone companies have not bought into the plan yet.

“I would imagine it’s a matter of the cost of reprogramming their systems. It’s been done in the U.K. They’d have to retool their systems to make it possible,” Magid said. “That probably costs them something but as the chiefs point out, customers pay a very dear cost in having our phones so vulnerable to be stolen.”

Magid said the cost of replacing smartphones could be as much as $500-600.

Related Coverage:
Fix Used Abroad Could Thwart Bay Area Smartphone Thieves

You can hear Larry Magid’s Tech Report Monday through Friday at 3:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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