Reps. Waxman, Eshoo, and Markey Launch Inquiry Into Efforts to Combat Cell Phone Theft

Mar 23, 2012

Today Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo, and senior Committee Member Edward J. Markey sent letters to nineteen carriers, handset manufacturers, and operating system developers seeking information on how they address cell phone theft.

According to numerous public safety officials, many local law enforcement officials are reporting a significant increase in crime, much of it connected to the theft of electronic devices.  These incidents raise important questions about what role wireless providers, operating system developers, and handset manufacturers might play to combat cell phone theft and protect personal information stored on these devices.   

In the letter, the members write:  “we are writing to learn what policies your company uses to protect consumers.  Even simple steps, like remote locking of stolen devices, could make a big difference in deterring theft.”

A recent study by Norton indicated that one in three individuals experience cell phone loss or theft, and a Symantec study of 50 Android phones in major cities found that more than 95% of people who found missing phones tried to access sensitive personal information.

The letters and the complete list of companies are available below.

Update: Read the companies' responses.