Upping the Ante on Cell-Phone-Security – The New Law

Losing cell phones is undoubtedly a sensation that can send our nervous system into doldrums. And one can’t always rely on a cell phone tracker to be able to outthink the potential mobile thieves. Cell phones have become so much more than just mere communication devices; they are our social hub, data storage safe, memory box, entertainment centre and whatnot! Losing all of this in one blow could possibly rupture a few nerves and give one a quasi cardiac arrest.

cellphone security
Analogical illustration

Now, to save the cell phone users from that sinking feeling, Senator Charles Schumer and New York City Police Commissioner are vying to come up with a new law that would virtually make cell phone theft pointless.

The New Law

This new law that is being formulated in the New York police drawing board is vying to make stealing someone else’s phone less desirable, while at same time making it impossible to be reactivated by thieves, if stolen. As things stand, once a phone is reported as ‘missing’ its carrier deactivates the device. Even so, a lot of potential damage can be done during the time that the phone takes to be deactivated. With the new law, which is scheduled to be implemented in November 2013, its MEID number – a unique electronic serial number – will be red flagged for a solitary database per carrier, which would mean that no one would be able to reactivate it at all.

This simply means that while in the past, a person could get the MEID number changed after getting hold of a particular phone, that won’t be possible now, since the number will be fixed. This connotes that you wouldn’t have to be a cell phone tracker aficionado to feel secure about your phone, you’d just know that no one but you could access your phone and its data.

Common Database 

While Verizon has been making optimistic noises with regards to the new law, the fact that other carriers are also following suit and evolving to LTE and 4G technology means that there would be a need of a ‘cross carrier database’. This cross carrier database or a common database would help all networks and carriers ensure that stolen cell phones aren’t activated from other networks. Having a common database covers all the bases and outlets through which a human cell phone tracker or a mobile thief could possibly make use of someone else’s cell phone.

A Verizon spokesman has stated that once the law is implemented, 90 percent of American cell phone users would be supported by a humongous common database of unique ID numbers. This would allow all the carriers involved to disable any phone that is reported to be stolen.

Plan Of Action

According to resources, leading companies including Verizon and T-mobile would be working on developing programs to disable stolen phones. This should be done within the next six months. And then 18 months after that, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) would fuse them all together into the aforementioned common database, which would nullify the possible usage of other networks.

However, while we all wait for the plan of action and the lawmaking to materialize, if your phone is stolen you should still notify your carrier as soon as possible. There are some smartphones that have apps to erase your private data remotely, plus you can also ask your company if they have a cell phone recovery plan. For, even as things stand, some companies have an array of plans that could at limit the damage that losing your phone could potentially cause.

For countries except the US

There isn’t any word for any similar security initiative in other countries. It’s quite clear with the new and tighter initiative for cell phone security by the US law, other countries will follow, sooner or later.