“New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is pushing makers of handsets and wireless operating system software to do more to combat the exploding theft of smartphones, as mobile operators work on a global database of stolen devices that could help tame the outbreak,” Thomas Gryta reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“In letters sent to Apple Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Samsung Electronics that were released Monday, Mr. Schneiderman asked the companies what they were doing to combat ‘this growing public safety problem,'” Gryta reports. “As Mr. Schneiderman reaches out to device and software makers, wireless carriers are simultaneously working on a database to help block the use of stolen phones on their network. In the U.S., most carriers have individual databases, but the industry struck a deal last year with the Federal Communications Commission to create a unified national database for stolen devices. That database, expected to be live by November, will connect to lists from other countries to help defuse the problem outside of the U.S. where many used and stolen smartphones are exported.”

Gryta reports, “Wireless phones that have been reported stolen to the carrier will be listed in the database using unique serial numbers associated with mobile gadgets. The carriers will block listed phones from accessing carrier networks for voice and data service… In the letters, Mr. Schneiderman said he sought to understand why companies that can develop sophisticated technology ‘cannot also create technology to render stolen devices inoperable and thereby eliminate the expanding black market on which they are sold.’ …Apple for several years has offered ‘Find My iPhone,’ free software that can help locate and remotely erase an Apple product from over the Web, among other things. Apple also offers a companion app so customers can track a lost or stolen device using another iPhone or iPad.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple already provides a way to track devices and flag them as lost or stolen, allowing users to lock them with passcodes. What else do you want Apple to do, frequent doughnut shops?

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