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Guest Post from AT&T: Protecting Your Device, Protecting Your Information

As part of our continued efforts to educate consumers about the tools and tips they can use to protect themselves and their smartphones from being stolen (as part of the four steps to deter smartphone thefts), we're posting some information from the participating wireless companies.

Today's guest blog post was originally posted on the AT&T Public Policy Blog on April 10.

By Jim Bugel, AT&T Assistant Vice President, Public Safety and Homeland Security

The theft of wireless devices is a complicated issue that we take very seriously, which is why we were pleased to join Chairman Genachowski at the FCC’s event today and to be part of CTIA’s announcement on the wireless industry’s efforts to tackle the many challenges concerning stolen devices.

We have been working with carriers, manufacturers, OS providers, governments and law enforcement for some time now on finding a comprehensive solution that helps the law enforcement community do their job but that wireless carriers are able to quickly implement from a technical standpoint.

Building on today’s industry-wide commitment, AT&T will launch a new website designed to better educate our customers on how to protect their device and personal information, and what to do should their device be stolen.  We think the new website, which will be up and running in the next few weeks, will be a valuable tool for our customers, as well as for consumers in general.

And to ensure that our customers understand the importance of password protecting their device, we’re going to provide helpful reminders to take this critical step when customers purchase their devices, through subsequent e-mails and text messages, and in bill inserts.  And information on apps that help monitor devices, and protect information, will be readily available.

But we won’t stop there.

AT&T is Co-Chair of the North American Fraud Forum and Security Group of the GSM Association, which has been exploring technical solutions to permanently disable stolen devices on all networks, across the globe.  So, we’re excited that, this summer, we’ll be launching a database that will enable us to identify and disable stolen devices using a unique device identifier called IMEI and share that info with other GSM carriers so any stolen device will be disabled on our network.

A great deal of cooperation and technical work among several industry stakeholders went in to making this a reality. And the work continues.

We’ll be posting updates on all these efforts underway over the next several months and we look forward to your feedback.

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