U.K. Makes Strides Preventing Mobile Phone Theft - InformationWeek

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4/12/2007
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U.K. Makes Strides Preventing Mobile Phone Theft

The country's five major mobile networks step up their efforts after concerns that young people are more likely to have their phones stolen.

An independent study found that phone networks blocked more than 80% of stolen mobile phones within two days.

The U.K. Home Office reported last week that mobile phone network changes, requested by the government, blocked stolen phones within hours of theft. System Concepts showed that the country's five major mobile networks (3, 02, Orange, T-Mobile, and Vodafone) blocked more than 80% of stolen mobile phones within 48 hours.

The U.K. government said that young people and children are more likely to have their phones stolen and requested that companies do something about it.

The government also passed a law allowing five years in jail and unlimited fines for anyone offering to reprogram mobile phones. The law takes effect this week.

"We are determined to stamp this out," Home Secretary John Reid said in a prepared statement.

The country's Association of Police Officers advises people to register phones and other electronic valuables through a free service that allows people to report theft. The report adds the property to a national database that police use when they recover stolen items.

In the United States, companies offer anti-theft software. In at least one case, authorities caught electronics thieves by activating GPS technology on location devices that looked like phones.

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