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Commissioner Rosenworcel Remarks at Mobile Device Theft Workshop

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Released: June 19, 2014
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REMARKS OF

COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WORKSHOP ON PREVENTION OF MOBILE DEVICE THEFT

WASHINGTON, DC

JUNE 19, 2014

Here’s a curious fact: There are now more mobile phones in this country than people.

But if you think about it, this is not really strange at all. The odds are that everyone in this room

has at least one mobile device. They are in our pockets and purses; they are with us always. We

download our data and every aspect of our daily life into our devices. For many of us, our

smartphones are the remote control for our modern life.

The thought of losing or misplacing our devices is scary. More frightening, still, is

having them stolen. But theft of mobile phones is surging. One in three robberies now includes

the theft of a mobile device. And that theft is expensive. In fact, mobile device theft alone costs

American consumers as much as $2.5 billion each year. But when you add in the cost of lost

personal and financial data and identity theft, it can cost as much as $30 billion a year.

So the bad news is mobile device theft is big business. The good news is that the people

we have here today—Senator Klobuchar, Congressman Serrano, and Chief Lanier—are paying

attention. By introducing legislation and speaking up they are shining a light on this problem—

and pressing for solutions. As a result, we have a commitment from manufacturers and wireless

providers to support anti-theft solutions in new phones. These solutions should be available at

no cost to consumers. They should help wipe sensitive data from devices remotely and render

them inoperable by bad actors. But as with all solutions, the devil is in the details. So today, I

hope you can work on those details. I hope you can find ways to make anti-theft solutions

simple for consumers. I hope you can find ways to make them available in every device. And I

hope you can help put these solutions in place not by some far off date—but fast. If we do this,

we can put the brakes on the ugly business of cell phone theft. We can deter thieves, we can

prevent crimes, and we can make all of our data and our devices more safe.

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