Cellphones, tablets and other wireless devices that have been reported lost or stolen can no longer be activated and therefore used on most wireless networks in Canada, following the launch of a new national “blacklist” of such devices.
Starting today, most Canadian wireless service providers, including all members of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, will start checking whether a device is blacklisted on an international database of lost and stolen devices before activating it, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association announced in a news release.
The IMEI database contains unique identifiers, known as International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers, for devices using GSM, HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE technology that have been reported lost or stolen around the world.
Bernard Lord, president of the association, said in a statement that the new national blacklist will make smartphones a less valuable target for criminals and help Canadian consumers identify pre-owned devices that have been previously reported as lost or stolen.
Ashlee Smith, a spokeswoman for the CWTA, said those who have had a phone lost or stolen before today should "absolutely" contact their wireless carrier to get it added to the database, but it`s up to individual carriers how to deal with that.
Plans for the voluntary database were first announced last November. At the time, Lord estimated it would cost the industry $20 million, but said there were no plans to charge consumers for the service.
Smith said all CWTA members have committed to participating in the blacklist, but non-members also have the option of participating. She added that consumers whose service providers are not members will have to check with their own carrier to find out if they are participating in the database.
Members of the association will also begin adding phones reported lost or stolen by customers to the international database starting today. The association has launched a new website called (ProtectYourData.ca) where consumers can enter the IMEI of a device to find out if it has been blacklisted.
BdST 2215 HRS, OCT 1, 2013
Edited by: Sabbin Hasan, ICT Editor