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AT&T to launch service to report and block stolen phones

The service would let a customer block data, voice, and text message access to the phone ortablet however keep their account information in place, avoiding the hassle of creating a new account and SIM card.

It's part of a broader effort the national carriers agreed to in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission. In April, the carriers agreed to work at the same time to compile and manage a database of stolen phones, preventing them from being reused.

The database is a list of stolen devices that will be blocked out of future use. The hope is that thieves will be deterred from stealing a phone if it will inevitably become "bricked," eliminating its value for resale.

Device to the list

Customers can add a device to the list by calling customer service directly, and clients with remote-wipe capabilities will be asked to erase the device's content earlier it is blocked.

Roger Cheng is an executive editor for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for near a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

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More information: Cnet