Database of Stolen Phones Would Make Them Useless


The Federal Communications Commission and the nation's leading wireless carriers are busy working on a new plan to discourage cellphone theft. They're building a national database that would allow carriers to permanently disable voice and data services of stolen phones.

Currently if an AT&T or T-Mobile phone is stolen, the thief can activate a new service. But all of the nation's major carriers have agreed to work together on a new database, using something called a "unique device identifier." The UDD would be assigned to every phone, and if the device is stolen, a new SIM card wouldn't work.

But the plan isn't completely foolproof. It would only work in the United States. If stolen phones were shipped overseas, there's still a chance they could work in other countries since there's no worldwide database being planned.