U.K. Preventing Mobile Phone Theft

The United Kingdom Home Office reported last week that mobile phone network changes, requested by the government, blocked stolen phones within hours of theft.

System Concepts showed that the country’s five major mobile networks (3, 02, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone) blocked more than 80% of stolen mobile phones within 48 hours.

The U.K. government said that young people and children are more likely to have their phones stolen and requested that companies do something about it.

The U.K. government passed a law allowing five years in jail and unlimited fines for anyone offering to reprogram cell phones. The law takes effect this week.

I really hope that this doesn’t become a law here in the United States because as most geeks know, there’s a lot of cool features built into many cell phones from the factory (Motorola being a great example of this) that require some reprogramming to take place for them to work.

A lot of carriers, Cingular, AT&T and T-Mobile just to name a few, have the factory turn off and/or de-program the extra stuff so end users (that’s you and me) can’t do everything the phone was meant to do which sucks.

I’m always hacking my cell phone and from time to time I’ve helped friends do the same but with this new law in the U.K., I won’t be helping any of my friends across the pond any time soon.

I can understand why they’d want to block phones that have been reported stolen but to make it against the law to reprogram a phone is crazy in my opinion.

From what I know, you can’t easily change or reprogram the IMEI number on a phone, so if it’s reported stolen, it’s of no use to anyone.

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