Using Database to Combat Cellphone Theft

by Ming X
In the article AT&T to Start Blocking Stolen Cellphones This Week, the author talks about At&t’s program as announced in April. At&t created a database to store information for every cellphone which on its network; and allowed its customers to report stolen cellphones, then At&t can disable any stolen cellphones to prevent reactivation of stolen devices on its own network, and make it more difficult for cellphone thieves to sell the devices back on the black market. The National Database planned to work toward a cross-carrier solution.

Cellphone is not only a communication tool any more. It’s a small computer we carry around all the time. We store our personal information on cellphones, including sensitive information, like bank apps that show bank account information, emails, and etc. Once we lost our cellphone, it doesn’t only mean that we lost a communication tool and a contact list; it’s already a personal database.

I think every cellphone company has the responsibility to keep these information safe for the customers. In my opinion, the cellphone itself is not as valuable as any data that stored on it. Cellphone theft is a security threat. The government should have put every activated cellphone’s information into a database to safeguard the personal database, which is any personal information we stored on our cellphones. Database security should be the priority.

 

Reference

CHEN, BRIAN X.  AT&T to Start Blocking Stolen Cellphones This Week, The New York Times, JULY 9, 2012 http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/att-cellphone-theft/

4 thoughts on “Using Database to Combat Cellphone Theft

  • October 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm
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    I know that AT&T had the feature to lock phones before this. To me it seems like this is an extension of that service so that, not only can they lock out the phone, but then they will be able to block it from their networks. It is a neat idea, I hope that it will also make it harder for them to retrieve your personal information from the phone to maybe cut down on identity theft and or other issues that arise from losing your phone. A very cool use of database technology indeed.

  • October 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm
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    Interesting article, It’s kind of odd though how they are coming up with some thing like this now. It’s already 2012, if they really cared about their customers as much as they claim perhaps they should have come up with this marvelous idea a couple years prior to now. It kind of raises the question if they don’t care as much for their customers as they claim because a stolen phone would mean their customers would have to buy a new one, but maybe they are just adapting and following their competitors so they don’t fall out of the race. Those are my thoughts about this.

  • October 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm
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    In addition to just blocking the cell phone from their network, I think AT&T should also use it to track the “thieves” who stole the phone. Every phone as a unique IMEI number and AT&T could easily locate exactly where the phone is at a given time. In the case of a stolen phone, I think it would be great if AT&T would turn this information over to the proper authorities. However, I don’t think they really “care” that much and would rather you buy a new phone.

  • October 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm
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    I believe that other carriers, such as Verizon and Sprint, implemented this type of safety feature years ago. While I sympathize your sentiment on how the cellphone can be a vector for a security breach, I really wouldn’t want government to monitor my cellphone activities. The Feds already allows warrantless cellphone tracking at the moment. I believe that it’s being challenged on the Supreme Court. I remember when people found out that Carrier IQ software was tracking and gathering data about its users. Also, some phones can be flashed with new IMEI or ESN so they can be activated on a different network.

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