The problems for dematerialised ID are linked to its attractions

Stolen mobiles 'will be blocked'
Around 80% of mobile phones will be blocked on all five UK networks within 48 hours of being reported stolen in future, industry leaders have pledged.
BBC News, 28 July, 2006
Phones and MP3s fuel robbery rise
A rise in young people carrying mobile phones and MP3 players is being blamed for street robberies and muggings jumping by 8% last year.
BBC News, 20 July, 2006
Curb on mobile unblockers to cut crime wave
The Home Office is preparing to tighten the law preventing the doctoring of stolen mobile phones in its forthcoming violent crime bill, the Guardian has learned ...

The crackdown comes as the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, last week blamed April's 26.4% rise in robberies on the fashion for flashy phones and iPods ...

Mobile phone handsets have a unique 14-17 digit number, the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), which is blocked from its owner's network within minutes of being reported stolen and by every other network in the country within 24 hours, rendering the phone useless.

Unblocking software is available on the internet and a kit, including the wire to attach the computer to the phone, has been available to buy on eBay - which is now working with the police to stop the sale of the equipment.

The technology works by reprogramming the phone's IMEI number. It is the same technology used to "unlock" a phone from one network for use on others, which is legal and advertised freely on the high street.

In phones produced in the past year the IMEI number has been encrypted and made harder to reprogramme ...

Police say that they are also facing a new phenomenon of mobile phones being stolen for bulk orders to ship to other countries where they cannot be blocked ... Foreign networks tell us that phones stolen from the UK are being picked up on their networks, where there is no power to block them."
The Guardian, 31 May 2005
Help for lost and stolen phones
Mobile phone owners are being urged to register their phones with a national database of handset ID numbers ...

Crime statistics show that more than 50% of street crime involves a mobile phone. And a survey reveals that more than half of all mobile phone users have lost a phone in the last three years ...

Mr Lindsay [crime prevention officer with the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit] said that currently more than 10,000 phones are lost or stolen every month. Transport for London, which oversees the capital's travel infrastructure, currently finds more than 600 phones per month on its buses, trains and tubes ...

Often, said Mr Lindsay, drug dealers will accept a phone instead of cash as payment. Statistics show that 11% of all crime involves a mobile phone, said Mr Lindsay.
BBC News, 23 November 2004
Thousands of mobile phone 'thefts' are fake
THE level of street crime in London is being distorted because 2,500 people each year are falsely reporting their lost mobile phones as stolen, police said yesterday.
The Times, 12 July 2004
Police bid to cut phone robberies
About 1,000 police officers are hitting high streets across London in a bid to cut mobile phone robberies ... The force says about 50% of all street crime involves mobile phones and has urged people to keep them out of sight around crime hot spots such as Tube stations.
BBC News, 6 December 2003
Huge surge in mobile phone thefts
Thefts of mobile phones in England and Wales have surged, with new research suggesting more than 700,000 were snatched last year ... Not only are overall robbery rates up 13%, but the proportion of those involving mobiles has soared from 8% three years ago to 28% last year, says the survey.
BBC News, 8 January 2002

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