Cellphone theft remains a problem in the Philippines. Despite efforts to put a stop to this problem in the past (at the Senate, by the police, by a consumer rights advocate group), nothing much happened. I still see stories about people getting killed after they refuse to give their cellphones to thieves.
I once asked several people why we put so much value on our cellphones. The answers varied. But they all pointed to the fact that the value of this device is quite obvious to petty criminals. So if they can re-sell the stolen handset for a quarter of its price, they still get a lot of money.
This leads us to the question: Why does cellphone theft persist? Are there any technical solutions to prevent further bloodshed, so to speak? Quick answer to that is: yes, there are several solutions. But that’s just part of preventing cellphone theft. What this problem needs is cooperation among differect sectors.
The police are admittedly powerless when it comes to this type of crime. Also, not everyone who become victims of cellphone theft bother to report it. They say the hassle it not worth their time. But losing one’s cellphone is also a hassle.
A Hong Kong firm has proposed a solution recently. Their solution involves “opting in” to their service. Their service requires you to register your IMEI (a unique manufacturing serial number in your phone). You can check your IMEI by dialling this sequence”*#06#” into the phone.
You can read the past stories on this same issue at INQ7.net. Here are some of them: