Canadian cellphone companies tackle phone theft

A new initiative by Canadian cellphone companies may help put a dent in phone theft.

New program requires users to register phones in central database

A new initiative by Canadian cellphone companies may help put a dent in phone theft.

People will soon be able to register a phone, so its information will be entered into a central registry.

If a thief then tries to sign up for a plan, the stolen phone will be flagged.

Andrew Preece with Protospace – a group of Calgarians who build, tinker and innovate – says the program should be effective.

"They'll add that to a data base that everyone has access to and so then for example if your stolen phone is tried to register on Bell, when they go to register it and perform that check, it will come up as invalid in the data base," Preece explained.

University of Calgary environmental design professor Tom Keenan says the registry may deter some thieves.

"This will certainly reduce the incentive for people to steal phones because the reality is now people steal them, they put them up on Craigslist or something they make $50 and they're done with it," Keenan says. "In the future when that blacklist is in place, the phone will be a lot less valuable you might have to take it to another country or something like that."

Keenan also says cellphones are still valuable to some thieves for the information stored on them.

University student Aaron Reichart says phone theft is a big problem.

"Well I know it happens a lot at school, it's kind of a general thing like if someone leaves it on a seat or it falls out of a pocket generally someone's there to pick it up," Reichart explained.

The registry won't be available until next September.


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