Legislation slated to protect mobile phone users

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The Federal Government plans to introduce legislation later this year, attempting to stop thieves from ‘rebirthing’ stolen mobile phones.

The Federal Government plans to introduce legislation later this year, attempting to stop thieves from 'rebirthing' stolen mobile phones.

Modifying the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IDEI) to 'rebirth' stolen mobile phones would become an offence under the proposed legislation, according to a statement released by Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston.

The new offence would carry a maximum penalty of two years.
Inter-carrier IMEI blocking across all GSM networks is also being introduced as another means to stop lost or stolen mobile phones from being used, according to the statement.

Alston said that this would make lost or stolen mobiles virtually worthless. 'Once phones have been reported stolen to a carrier, they cannot be connected to any GSM network in Australia,' Alston said. 'Law enforcement agencies will also be able to identify if there has been an attempt to connect a lost or stolen mobile phone on any GSM network.'

Analysts have also commented on the benefits to users of blocking stolen mobile phones.
Paul Budde, independent telecommunications analyst, said that it was good to see this initiative happening. 'I think it has been in the making for quite some time,' he said. 'So it clearly indicates [the move for] ethical operators to work together.'

Likewise, Geoff Johnson, research director at industry analyst Gartner, said that the issues of identity and device theft were a significant problem for end users. 'This announcement is another step in the right direction towards managing our increasingly identity and theft problem,' Johnson said.

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