WASHINGTON (AP) — Cellphone companies and the government are trying to make it as difficult to use a stolen cellphone as it is to sell a stolen car.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement late Monday that major cellphone carriers and the Federal Communications Commission have agreed to set up a database of identification numbers that are unique to each phone.
Using the list, cellular carriers will be able to permanently disable a phone once it's been reported stolen. Until now, U.S. carriers have only been disabling so-called "SIM" cards, which can be swapped in and out. That's enabled a black market to exist for stolen phones.
Schumer said that the goal of the agreement is to make a stolen cellphone "as worthless as an empty wallet."
He has said that unique ID numbers known as International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers are already effectively used in Europe to deter stealing.
Schumer also said he will introduce legislation to make it a federal crime to alter or tamper with a phone's IMEI number.
According to New York police, 42 percent of all property crimes of individuals in New York City in 2011 involved a cell phone, and some crimes have been accompanied by violence. Both iPhones and Android phones use SIM card technology that makes them susceptible to being resold after thefts.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Willie Nelson's nine-hole golf course in Briarcliff is up for sale and the asking price is $3 million, according to a local real estate website.
The lawyer for embattled District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg argued Wednesday that the civil trial aimed at removing her from office should be dismissed.
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff who won hearts and headlines with his humility and common touch, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013.
When Dawn Erin decided to seek health coverage for the first time in two decades, she was prepared for the red-tape run-around.
Most of the crowd that poured into Austin City Hall on Tuesday night was disappointed with the Parks and Recreation Department's decision to approve a smaller off leash area at Auditorium Shores.
The cold weather tends to bring a bump in cold and flu cases in Central Texas which has a lot of people reaching for over-the-counter drugs. Doctors say to use caution though when picking out those medicines.