In the latest installment of Grand Theft Mobile (TM): Canadian phone thieves face a major hurdle now that several carriers in the country have launched a centralized blacklist of stolen devices. Canada's Protect Your Data initiative combines collections of pilfered gadgets' IMEIs -- a unique identifier that most phones have -- not only from each participating carrier in the country, but also from the US carriers' unified database. The joint effort will allow the companies to cross-check against everyone's rosters and refuse to activate any GSM, HSPA, HSPA+ or LTE device that appears in them. While only phones reported stolen or lost starting September 30th will automatically be listed, carriers have the option to add devices lost before that. While only phones reported stolen starting September 30th will automatically be listed, carriers have the option to add anything lost before that. It might not bring people's phones home, but at least those no-good snatchers will wish they'd stolen something simpler instead, like wallets, or cars.

[Thanks, Mackenzie]

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Canada's Wireless Industry Launches National Stolen Device Blacklist
New consumer look-up service will help Canadians protect themselves from purchasing pre-owned devices reported as lost or stolen

OTTAWA – September 30, 2013 – The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and its wireless carrier members today announced the launch of a national blacklist of wireless devices that have been reported as lost or stolen. As announced last fall, Canada's wireless carriers committed to implementing the blacklist to assist law enforcement agencies with their efforts to combat the theft of wireless devices.

Beginning today, the authorization of any GSM, HSPA, HSPA+ or LTE wireless device on any participating Canadian carrier's network will include verification that the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of the device has not been reported as lost or stolen on that network or any other participating Canadian network as of September 30, 2013. The blacklist will also include devices that have been reported as lost or stolen by US carriers that are connected to the GSMA IMEI Database.

"Canadians are among the world's fastest adopters and heaviest users of sophisticated smartphones," said CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord. "Not only will this national blacklist help to make their smartphones a less valuable target for criminals, but the industry has also taken steps to help Canadian consumers identify if a pre-owned device has previously been reported as lost or stolen."

To help protect Canadians when purchasing a wireless device from a private source, the ProtectYourData.ca Web site now features a convenient tool that allows Canadian consumers to simply enter the IMEI number of a wireless device to find out immediately if that device has been blacklisted in Canada. If the IMEI number has been blacklisted, that device will not be able to be used on any participating Canadian network. The consumer look-up feature, the first of its kind in the world that utilizes the GSMA IMEI Database, will include blacklisted devices that have been reported as lost or stolen as of September 30, 2013 and beyond.

"On behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), I would like to commend the CWTA and its members for their rapid response to implement this much needed public safety tool," said CACP President Chief Constable Jim Chu. "Less than a year ago, we identified to the CWTA the seriousness of cellphone theft and the associated violent crime which was of growing concern to law enforcement and communities throughout Canada. This important action by the industry will have a direct impact on reducing this gratuitous crime."

ProtectYourData.ca is also a hub of information where visitors can find numerous resources about the critical importance of protecting the data on their smartphones, as well as how to help protect themselves from becoming a victim of device theft.

It is imperative that customers contact their service provider to immediately report a lost or stolen phone to have their device deactivated. It is only when the device has been reported that the service provider can then add the device to the blacklist. All instances of personal theft should of course be reported to local law enforcement as well.

Protect Your Data. Protect Yourself. is an industry-led initiative designed to help ensure that Canadian wireless users have the information they need to keep their personal information safe and secure, and to promote the safe use of wireless devices.