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06/29/2012

Politician wants to stop stolen cellphones from being used

An NDP politician is pitching the idea of a national stolen cellphone registry to cut down on theft.

Mike Sullivan, MP for York South-Weston, wants our national regulator to track stolen phones. He’s calling for the CRTC to create a registry, which would contain the unique identification codes of any phone reported stolen in the country.

Each phone has a unique code (IMEI number). When a phone is stolen, users would report the theft to the registry and their phone’s code would be added to the list.

Cellphone carriers would have access to the list of stolen phones. Then, when a thief (or someone who bought a stolen phone) tries to activate the handset, the carrier would check the registry. If the code comes up ‘stolen,’ the phone wouldn’t be activated.

The proposal comes as cellphone (and gadget) theft continues to rise. The issue is especially bad in schools, The Record reports.

The idea of a registry isn’t unique to Canada – the FCC (the equivalent of the CRTC) in the U.S. announced in April that it was going to make a similar registry between major carriers down there.

The head of the CRTC, however, told the Record that most phones stolen in Canada aren’t used in the country. The devices are instead shipped overseas, where the registry would be pretty much useless.

Should Canada have a national stolen cellphone registry? 

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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