Several major carriers, manufacturers sign Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| April 15, 2014

Smartphones on desk

Because of their small size and typically high prices, smartphones are often the target of theft. Today the CTIA announced that it’s teaming up with several wireless companies to change that, though, with a new “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment.”

The CTIA says that the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment consists of two major parts. The first is a “baseline anti-theft tool” that will be preloaded or made available to download on all the smartphones made by participating firms after July 2015. The tool will allow consumers to:

  • Remotely wipe data on a stolen device
  • Render the smartphone unusable to unauthorized users
  • Prevent reactivation without an authorized user’s permission
  • Reverse the inoperability and restore user data if the device is recovered by the authorized user

The second part of the commitment focuses on carriers. It says that the network operators participating in the commitment agree to allow a baseline anti-theft tool to be preinstalled or downloaded onto smartphones.

A number of major wireless players have agreed to comply with the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment. Those include Apple, Asurion, AT&T, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

We’ve seen several efforts to fight smartphone theft over the years, including a stolen phone database operated by U.S. carriers. This latest commitment sounds great because its got all of the major U.S. operators and most major manufacturers involved. 

One issue that I could see with the effort is if the anti-theft tool isn’t actually preloaded on enough devices. Sure, consumers could download it themselves, but I’m betting that it would get much more use if the tool comes preloaded on all of the hardware that comes from the participating firms.

What do you think of this latest smartphone anti-theft program? Will it help to deter thieves from stealing phones?

Via PhoneScoop, CTIA