CTIA and Participating Wireless Companies Announce New Effort to Help Consumers Combat Stolen Smartphones and Protect Personal Information

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Among the efforts include updating the "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment" to balance widespread adoption of anti-theft tools with consumer choice and privacy.

WASHINGTON -- CTIA-The Wireless Association and participating wireless companies have announced a new effort to update the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment and encourage the widespread adoption of anti-theft tools, which will be made available on all smartphones at no cost to U.S. consumers, as of July 2016. This is in direct response to FCC Chairman Wheeler's request to update the Commitment.

The Commitment updates are in section B part I, which promotes the widest possible adoption of anti-theft tools while respecting the importance of consumer choice and privacy. In addition, CTIA developed a list of apps to locate, erase and/or lock, many of which are free, for the various operating systems. CTIA also created step-by-step video instructions on how to set up a PIN/password on various mobile devices.

"Today's announcement of the new Commitment is the latest example of how America's wireless industry takes on tough issues and works together to develop the best solutions for their customers that balances the needs of users while still providing the flexibility for companies to innovate. It's clear that these initiatives are working since smartphone thefts have declined in cities across the country. As CTIA's recent consumer survey showed, there has been a more than 20 percent increase in PIN and password usage by consumers to proactively protect their personal information and their mobile devices in case of theft," said CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. "By collaborating with federal and state policymakers as well as law enforcement, we are better serving America's wireless consumers."

The following network operators, device manufacturers and operating system companies are participating in the voluntary commitment: Apple Inc.; Assurant; Asurion; AT&T; BlackBerry; 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.

CTIA-The Wireless Association® (www.ctia.org) is an international organization representing the wireless communications industry. Membership in the association includes wireless carriers and their suppliers, as well as providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products. CTIA advocates on behalf of its members at all levels of government. The association also coordinates the industry's voluntary best practices and initiatives, and sponsors the industry's leading wireless tradeshow. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE CTIA-The Wireless Association
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