Proposed US law to penalize resale of stolen smartphones to discourage theft

October 18, 2013
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The popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices do not always have positive impacts on society, such as the rising incidents of smartphone-related thefts. A US lawmaker is seeking to halt this wave by making it more difficult to get rid of stolen smartphones through the black market.

Smartphones are a lucrative business, with sales reaching $69 billion last year in the US alone. But the business is apparently also good for thieves who are able to resell stolen units easily for high values, which has been pointed out as one of the causes of rampant smartphone theft. The situation with Apple devices have become so bad that authorities have nicknamed the theft incidents as "Apple picking." Stop gap measures, such as carriers implementing a database that blacklists stolen devices, have had no effect to curb the crimes.

Bronx Democrat State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein is proposing a new law that attempts to at least discourage theft by making it hard to sell off the stolen items. Under the bill, that will be introduced this Friday, businesses will be required to get proof of ownership when buying a used smartphone. Likewise, they will also be required to present such documents when selling the said device, ensuring that there has been a proper and legal chain of ownership and that the smartphone was not simply stolen. Such businesses who are found to not comply with the law, if and when it has been approved, will be fined or imprisoned.

This of course, applies only to businesses, which is defined under the bill as anyone selling three or more smartphones. Selling off your smartphone to a friend or reselling a relative's device won't land you in jail, but it might be a good thing to provide the recipient with the necessary documents anyway.

SOURCE: New York Times


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  • rekem

    This will just galvanize the black market for smartphones, but I guess our lawmakers have to at least pretend that they’re doing something worthwhile.