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US cellphone carriers agree to disable stolen phones

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Remember when the US used to be the leader rather than the follower? Permanently shutting down cell phones that have been stolen - in ordert to make them useless, and thus not worth stealing - has been the practice in Europe and Australia already but the US mobile carriers are never keen to do much of anything that might benefit their customers. Why? Because they rarely have to thanks to a bought Congress. It's almost a miracle that anything like this has even happened.

Overdue, but thanks to Senator Schumer for this one.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement late Monday that major cellphone carriers and the Federal Communications Commission have agreed to set up a database of identification numbers that are unique to each phone.

Using the list, cellular carriers will be able to permanently disable a phone once it's been reported stolen. Until now, U.S. carriers have only been disabling so-called "SIM" cards, which can be swapped in and out. That's enabled a black market to exist for stolen phones.

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