CTIA and Participating Wireless Companies Fulfill Anti-Theft Commitment to Combat Stolen Smartphones

CTIA® today announced the participating 16 wireless companies successfully fulfilled the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment to make anti-theft tools available for free on all new smartphones manufactured after July 2016 for sale in the U.S.
July 26, 2016

WASHINGTON  — CTIA® today announced the participating 16 wireless companies successfully fulfilled the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment to make anti-theft tools available for free on all new smartphones manufactured after July 2016 for sale in the U.S.

In doing so, the authorized user may choose to disable or enable the anti-theft solution at any time. By granting authorized users access to the pre-installed anti-theft tools, consumers’ phones and personal data are more secure.

In addition to the availability of anti-theft tools on smartphones, many companies independently developed tips and tools to educate consumers. CTIA offers consumer tips to protect data and deter smartphone theft, including a list of apps that locate, erase and/or lock stolen phones.

These consumer education efforts are helping protect users’ personal information and mobile devices. According to a recent survey, 69 percent of wireless consumers use PINs and passwords on their smartphones, a 13 percent increase from 2015 and a 38 percent increase from 2012. Additionally, 51 percent of consumers have built-in remote lock and erase software installed, up 42 percent from 2015 and 31 percent from 2012.

“I’m proud of the wireless industry’s continued pro-consumer initiatives to make anti-theft tools readily available in a manner that respects consumer choice and maintains flexibility for innovation,” said CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker.

The following network operators, device manufacturers and operating system companies fulfilled part 1 section B of the Commitment: Apple Inc.; Assurant; Asurion; AT&T; Google Inc.; HTC America Inc.; Huawei Device USA, Inc.; LGE Mobile Research U.S.A., LLC; Microsoft Corporation; Motorola Mobility LLC; Samsung Electronics America, Inc.; Sprint Corporation; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; Verizon and ZTE USA Inc.

Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment

Part I

Each device manufacturer and operating system signatory of Part I of this “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” agrees that:

A. New models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2015 for retail sale in the United States will offer, at no cost to consumers, a baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones that provides the connected capability to:

  1. Remote wipe the authorized user’s data (i.e., erase personal info that is added after purchase such as contacts, photos, emails, etc.) that is on the smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.
  2. Render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user (e.g., locking the smartphone so it cannot be used without a password or PIN), except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user (e.g., “phone home”).
  3. Prevent reactivation without authorized user’s permission (including unauthorized factory reset attempts) to the extent technologically feasible (e.g., locking the smartphone as in 2 above).
  4. Reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible (e.g., restored from the cloud).

B. In order to be effective, the anti-theft tools need to be widely adopted while still respecting the importance of consumer choices and privacy. New models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2016 for retail sale in the United States will, if technically necessary, make readily available to the authorized user an option that allows the authorized user to enable or disable the anti-theft solution at any time that the smartphone is connected and is in the authorized user’s possession.

In addition to this baseline anti-theft tool, consumers may use other technological solutions, if available for their smartphones.

Part II

Each network operator signatory of Part II to the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” commits to permit the availability and full usability of a baseline anti-theft tool to be preloaded or downloadable on smartphones as specified in this commitment.

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CTIA® (www.ctia.org) represents the U.S. wireless communications industry. With members from wireless carriers and their suppliers to providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products, the association brings together a dynamic group of companies that enable consumers to lead a 21st century connected life. CTIA members benefit from its vigorous advocacy at all levels of government for policies that foster the continued innovation, investment and economic impact of America’s competitive and world-leading mobile ecosystem. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices and initiatives and convenes the industry’s leading wireless tradeshow. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.                   

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