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FCC Chairman calls on OEMs and carriers to add theft-prevention features to all cell phones
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to take immediate steps to reduce cell phone theft, and he’s doing so by calling on OEMs and carriers to help. In a statement released Thursday, the FCC’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) released a list of opt-out recommendations that the wireless industry should adopt, including security features like remote-locking, remote-data-wiping and the ability to call 911 from the phone’s lock screen at no cost to the consumer. If cell phone makers do choose to adopt the FCC’s recommendations, users would need to disable the features on their own devices if they don’t want to use them.
The FCC’s goal is to set a national framework throughout the entire wireless industry when it comes to theft-prevention features, so users will more clearly understand what actions to take if they ever find themselves in situations like this. Wheeler comments:
If implemented, these features will result in more consumers using these powerful features which, in turn, will mark a key milestone in combatting smart phone theft.
He’s not wrong, either. If a number of device manufacturers and service providers can work together to adopt on-device theft prevention features, it can make a big difference. The problem is, there likely needs to be a substantial number of participants to really make a difference, which might be difficult to accomplish. As of now, this is just a recommendation, so we’ll have to see if anybody chooses to adopt the advice in the future.