[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

Here are four reasons why stealing a smartphone is not such a good idea. Other than the usual ethical debate of to snatch, or not to, that is. The Wireless Association CTIA, says its working together with participating wireless companies, and with the federal government and law enforcement to develop four steps to help deter smartphone thefts and protect consumer data.

The four steps are:

1. Implement databases to prevent reactivation of stolen smartphones. Wireless providers will work to initiate, implement and deploy database solutions, using unique smartphone identifying numbers, designed to prevent smartphones reported by their customers as stolen from being activated and/or provided service on their own networks.

By October 31, 2012, U.S. GSM providers will implement this database so that stolen GSM smartphones will not work on any U.S. GSM network. In addition, U.S. providers will create a common database for LTE smartphones designed to prevent smartphones that are reported stolen by consumers from being activated or provided service on any LTE network in the U.S. and on appropriate international LTE stolen mobile smartphone databases. This database will be completed by November 30, 2013.

2(A). Notify consumers of features to secure/lock smartphones with passwords. By April 30, 2013, smartphone makers will implement a system to notify/inform users via the new smartphones upon activation or soon after of its capability of being locked and secured from unauthorized access by setting a password.

2(B). Educate consumers about features to secure/lock smartphones with passwords. By December 31, 2012, smartphone makers will include information on how to secure/lock new smartphones in-box and/or through online “Quick Start” or user guides.

3. Educate consumers about applications to remotely lock/locate/erase data from smartphones. Wireless providers will inform consumers, using communications including email or text messages, about the existence of – and access to – applications that can lock/locate/erase data from smartphones.

Providers will also educate consumers on how to access these applications, including those that are easy-to-find and preloaded onto smartphones. Substantial progress on this will be made by December 31, 2012; it will be completed by April 30, 2013.

4. Educate consumers about smartphone theft, protections and preventative measures. By July 1, 2012, the wireless industry will launch an education campaign for consumers on the safe use of smartphones and highlight the solutions one through three by using a range of resources, including a public service announcement and online tools such as websites and social media.

Beginning June 30, 2012, CTIA will publish quarterly updates on its website and submit a copy to the Federal Communications Commission, detailing progress, benchmarking milestones and indicating completion by industry and provider of the following deliverables: implementation of databases, information about applications to locate/lock/erase data from smartphones and efforts to educate consumers about smartphone theft, protections and preventative measures, says the agency.

The Wireless Association is an international organization representing the wireless communications industry. Membership in the association includes wireless carriers and their suppliers, as well as providers and manufacturers of wirelessdata services and products. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.

[Image Courtesy: CTIA]