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FCC and wireless carriers are creating a smart device database

The Federal Communications Commission and a group of wireless carriers have created a cell phone stolen database for smartphones and tablets.

Today Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC, said, “In DC, New York and other major cities, roughly 40% of all robberies now involve cell phones –endangering both the physical safety of victims and the safety of the personal information on stolen devices. ’’ Also joined in this effort Major Cities Chiefs Association who created a document that asked the FCC to address stole mobile phone usage.

For now, the database group includes Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint which all will track reported devices that are stolen or lost and deny voice or data services to those devices. Initially the carriers will implement their own separate databases and within six months merge the databases into one within a year. Within the next two years regional carriers will be merged into this joined database effort. Since 2002, other countries including U.K, France, and Germany already have IMIE Database to exchange stolen handset data .

Some technology in these smart devices are SIM or CDMA cards. SIM, Subscriber Identity Module card is used in AT&T and T-Mobile smart phones. The card activates the phone on a Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) network and has personal identity information, mobile phone number, phone book, text messages and other data. GSM is used by 73% of the worldwide market. The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is currently the dominant network standard in North America and is (Verizon & Sprint). Your account information is programmed into your cellular phone. If you want to change your phone, you have to contact your carrier and have them reprogram your new phone.

Next on the agenda for the FCC is to work with Congress and the legislation to prevent tampering with IMEI numbers on mobile devices. MEI is short for International Mobile Equipment Identity and is a unique number given to every single mobile phone, typically found behind the battery.


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