New blacklist system poses threat to cell phone thieves

by | Oct 1, 2013 | Biz/Tech, News



By: Alessandra Micieli

People now have the option to blacklist their cell phone, tablet, or other device if it has been stolen, thanks to a new program by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). Once a device is put on the blacklist, it can no longer be used or operated by anyone.

An international database has been created so people can go online to report their stolen items. The website, is where victims of theft can put their items on the list, using their phone’s unique international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number found under a device’s battery. Most mobile providers will have this number if the device has been stolen.

Ashlee Smith, communications manager for the CWTA, told Humber News the website has three sections: to check a device, information on how to protect yourself from owning a blacklisted phone, and information on how to protect your data.

“Make sure your device is password protected,” said Smith on how to protect data on a cell phone.

She also told Humber News if a person has bought a cell phone second-hand the best action to take is to check the website first to make sure it’s not on the blacklist.

Wireless mobile providers are also hopping onto the bandwagon. As of Monday, any phone reported stolen to a wireless provider will now automatically become blacklisted.

Smith told Humber News the wireless industry is very happy to be working to reduce the number of thefts with the help of law enforcement.

Toronto Police Const. Sarah Diamond told Humber News she likes the new system.

“Overall, it’s a great idea and it’s an important system,” said Diamond.

Diamond told Humber News there are some conventional ways to prevent a cell phone from being stolen. She suggests having the device concealed, make sure the tracking system is working (if it has one), and to shut down the phone remotely at times.

Hana Sayed, a first-year general arts and sciences student at Humber College, has had her phone stolen before. Sayed told Humber News that she would use the service so she can feel more secure.

“I guess it’s pretty good, because I was really angry when my phone got stolen,” said Sayed.

After having her phone stolen once, Sayed is taking theft prevention measures to make sure her device isn’t stolen again.

“I don’t take my phone places where it would more likely get stolen,” said Sayed. “I just check once and a while to see if I still have it on me.”