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Eric Krapf
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Eric Krapf | April 10, 2012 |

 
   

FCC Steps Up Fight Against Mobile Device Theft

FCC Steps Up Fight Against Mobile Device Theft The commission cites alarming statistics as it announces a cooperative program with the cellular carriers. It can only help enterprises get a handle on BYOD.

The commission cites alarming statistics as it announces a cooperative program with the cellular carriers. It can only help enterprises get a handle on BYOD.

Security concerns top the list of enterprise managers' concerns over BYOD (bring your own device), so this week's FCC announcement of new steps against mobile phone theft is welcome news. Many of the specifics are measures that enterprise communications managers have already been talking about quite a bit, but the additional focus can only help.

And the FCC cites some pretty alarming statistics:

More than 40% of all robberies in New York City involve smartphones and other cell phones.

The situation is getting worse: In Washington, D.C., cell phones were taken in 54% more robberies in 2011 than in 2007, and cell phones are now taken in 38% of all DC robberies.

Other major cities have similar statistics, with robberies involving cell phones comprising 30-40% of all robberies.

The FCC has secured the cooperation of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in its initiative, so this is basically an industry-wide effort.

The most significant new development in the FCC's effort is a commitment from the participating carriers that they'll block all access to any device that's reported stolen, and a common database across the carriers will be implemented to support this effort. The initiative also will include public education campaigns around ways to avoid mobile device theft and applications that are available for locking, locating and wiping devices.

Given the rapid spread of BYOD across enterprises, you'd have to hope that companies are doing their own education campaigns to impress upon users the importance of security. And the kinds of remote-wipe applications mentioned by the FCC should be already under consideration by enterprise managers.

The best news may simply be that this is more evidence that the workplace and the general public are internalizing the idea of BYOD (also see Building BYOD-Ready Networks), and are adapting to the new reality.



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