“Canada’s wireless industry is vowing to combat mobile device theft following months of pressure from the federal telecom regulator, police and politicians.
The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, an industry group representing carriers, announced a plan on Thursday to make it more difficult for criminals to reactivate stolen devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers.
At the crux of that strategy is a push by carriers to “blacklist” stolen gadgets a move that would reduce the incentive for theft. By Sept. 30, 2013, carriers will make it standard practice to verify whether a device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity number is listed as stolen in Canada and internationally before it is cleared for activation.
The new verification process will cover the vast majority of cellphones operating in Canada, including new handsets that run on LTE (long-term evolution) networks that are becoming the biggest targets of theft. It would also apply to tablets that run on LTE networks through a subscription, but would not include those that only use WiFi.
The launch of an industry strategy follows months of pushing from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, MPs and police, which have criticized carriers for failing to do their part to protect consumers. Canadians are among the world’s heaviest users of smartphones and increasing numbers are falling victim to violent robberies in cities such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, a trend that is being dubbed iCrime.”