An easy way to curb smart-phone thieves

The idea that your smart phone could make you vulnerable to a thief has triggered a strong reaction.

Earlier this week I highlighted this problem and readers asked why the cell phone’s serial number couldn’t be used to block stolen phones, rendering them useless.

I assumed that idea was simplistic. Surely there was a good reason why it wouldn’t work.

There isn’t.

Randal Markey of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association explained that not only is it possible for carriers to block the use of stolen phones, Australian phone carriers have done it for nearly 10 years.

What it means is stealing a phone is a complete waste of time, Markey said. Although the thief could probably use it as a paperweight.

But American phone companies aren’t doing that. When asked why, representatives from Sprint, Verizon and AT&T instead touted their apps to locate a lost phone or wipe out a SIM card. But that’s not the issue. Petty thieves ditch the SIM card immediately. That doesn’t shut down the phone — via

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