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US, Mexico Ink Deal to Stymie Stolen Mobile Phone Use

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November 14, 2012

Officials say that roughly 40% of all robberies now involve cell phones, with smartphones a particularly tempting target for thieves. Some of the devices stolen in the US appear to be resold in Mexico.

Washington, D.C. US and Mexican officials signed a bilateral agreement on Tuesday aimed at blocking the cross-border use of stolen mobile telephones.

The United States Federal Communications Commission and Mexico's Secretariat of Communications announced the plan to share databases of stolen phones in both countries to prevent reactivation.

"Today's announcement cracks down on the growing trend of stolen mobile devices," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said. "US and Mexican collaboration to block reactivation of stolen mobile devices in both countries sends a clear message to thieves and criminal gangs - this is a crime that does not pay."

Officials say that in Washington, New York and other large US cities, roughly 40 percent of all robberies now involve cell phones, with smartphones like the iPhone a particularly tempting target for thieves. Some stolen devices in the US appear to be resold in Latin American markets, including Mexico.

The move comes two weeks after US mobile carriers began implementing a system this week to block the reuse of stolen mobile phones by sharing data on thefts.

Genachowski signed the agreement in Washington with Mexican Communications Under-Secretary Hector Olavarria Tapia.

US and Mexican mobile providers also recently announced their participation in the international stolen device database, which is used to identify and deactivate a stolen device after it has been reported.

US wireless providers have been able to access the database for information about stolen devices in each country since October 31st.