Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today called on the CTIA, the wireless industry association, to move promptly to deploy protections for smartphone users as violent thefts of such devices have increased nationwide.
The industry association, on behalf of the major U.S. wireless companies, is in discussions with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about developing the necessary protections for American consumers. Yet in a recent NBC News report, a CTIA spokesperson suggested that such solutions should not be implemented in the U.S. until they are adopted in other parts of the world, including Mexico, Central and South America, China and Africa.
In her letter, Senator Boxer wrote, “The U.S. is a leader in developing mobile phone technology and there is absolutely no reason we should wait for other nations to act when the safety and security of our citizens is threatened.”
The full text of the letter appears below:
March 23, 2012
Steve Largent, President & CEO
CTIA, The Wireless Association
1400 16th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Dear Mr. Largent:
I write to bring to your attention an alarming NBC News report that highlights the growing epidemic of smartphone thefts nationwide. As the report points out, not only has theft of smartphones become a multimillion-dollar business, but the physical safety of smartphone owners is being threatened.
Recently, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which includes police chiefs from nearly seventy cities nationwide including several in California, adopted a resolution outlining measures that would help deter crime and protect the public. The association noted that the technology exists in the United Kingdom and Australia to disable handsets remotely, thus reducing the ability of thieves and black-market purchasers to use stolen smartphones. Also, the association called for the development of a stolen phone tracking database to assist law enforcement and providers in recovering and disabling stolen smartphones.
My understanding is that through the CTIA, the major U.S. wireless companies are currently engaged in talks with the FCC about deploying, across platforms, measures to address these thefts. However, I was discouraged to hear a CTIA representative tell NBC News that solutions should not be implemented in the U.S. until such solutions are adopted and implemented in other parts of the world, including Mexico, Central and South America, China and Africa. The U.S. is a leader in developing mobile phone technology and there is absolutely no reason we should wait for other nations to act when the safety and security of our citizens is threatened.
All parties involved should come to a prompt resolution that affords the necessary protection for American consumers. Additionally, I encourage CTIA and the FCC to include input from members of our law enforcement community and device manufacturers in developing these plans.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
United States Senator
CC: Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission