FCC's Wheeler calls for carriers, OEMs to add anti-theft measures to all phones

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called for smartphone makers and wireless carriers to add anti-theft features to all mobile phones. The FCC's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), acting through its Mobile Device Theft Prevention Working Group, released recommendations regarding on-device theft prevention features. Wheeler said the industry should voluntarily support the Working Group's "opt-out" recommendation, under which theft-prevention features such as the ability to remotely lock and wipe data from phones would be activated on all phones by default and require consumers to take affirmative steps to disable them.

"If implemented, these features will result in more consumers using these powerful features which, in turn, will mark a key milestone in combatting smart phone theft," Wheeler said in a statement. 

The Working Group was comprised of representatives from the industry, members of law enforcement and consumer interest organizations. The group recommended supporting mobile device theft-prevention features, including that devices include remote lock and wipe functionalities, as well as the ability to call 911 even when locked, all at no cost to the consumer. The working group's recommendations would create a national framework for theft-prevention features that are currently defined in disparate state laws and the CTIA's own voluntary commitments announced in April 2014. Release