back to article Smartphone black market fuels knife robberies

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) reckons demand for smartphones on the black market has in part fuelled a rise in knife robberies. According to a study of crime reports in the UK, police forces in England and Wales recorded nearly 15,000 robberies at knifepoint in the year to June, up 7 per cent on the previous …


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Anonymous Coward

Well bowl me over guv'nor

"Limiting access to your personal information is the key to safety from ID fraud."

Well done Action Fraud (an exclamation mark needed in that moniker surely?) , an observation almost as astute as it is entirely bloody pointless and obvious, but then stating the bleeding obvious is about as close as we get to preventing fraud these days innit. Forget collaring the toerags who do the blagging, or perhaps taking a solid object to the delicate, well groomed knuckles of those who can't be arsed to look after our data having demanded a serious excess of it for some pointless service before shipping it off to some corner of the world where "data" doesn't exist in the local dialect and "protection" rarely appears in sentences that don't contain "racket".

Stick instead to persuading us that the ultimate fate of our intimate details is in our own hands and, should we end up on the wrong end of fraud, we really only have ourselves to blame, the state and the corporations having done their utmost to save us from ourselves. Generating cheap, unhelpful soundbites is after all far cheaper than doing something useful.

As an alternative, you could, for example, mandate (and enforce!) that collection of data is limited to what is strictly neccessary to provide the service or goods and is disposed of immediately it is no longer needed. You might insist vociferously that all personal data is encrypted at all times while in the possession of government departments or businesses (no, not "password protected"!!) and accessible only by those who really, really need to, with genuinely draconian punishments for transgression such as prison or the withdrawal of the right to hold personal data in future. You could place the onus on businesses to prove that their IT is up to snuff and they are fit to hold data , rather than on the (meh) ICO to prove they flunked it.

Finally, as a personal favour, you could insist that all credit cards (not activated) are delivered by signed for courier service rather than randomly distributed by the so-called "post-man" somewhere within a mile of the intended address, and that companies immediately, on request, cease sending personal detail haemorrhaging paper bills, promos, reminders and general fluff you don't need because you have t'interwebs to view this crap without damaging your marriage, your credit rating or any trees.

But I'm sure you'd prefer to just keep blaming us and let the cash stay where it so rightly belongs, in corporate pockets.


'adding a passcode to a device'

Lets face it, if an iPhone turns up and 'lands on your lap' - It takes a technically minded person approximately 15 minutes to restore a fresh iOS image on it, thus removing passcode. Yeah I appreciate the data is gone, but the phone is 'usable'. Jimmy Thief doesn't really give a monkeys about someones photos of their dog. Until they start IMEI blocking abroad, stolen phones will continue being sold on places like eBay etc.

I still cannot understand why eBay do not *demand* the IMEI number of a lost/stolen phone, and notify the authorities when one is listed...

Silver badge

@Adam Comben

That assumes a few things. I don't know were you live, but here in the states no police dept will take a report for a lost cell phone. So how is E-bay going to get that from the authorities. Now are you aware of a data base that police put IMEI of stolen phones in to ? The other thing is what if the phone is sold in another country. Do you expect Ebay to query every country to see if there is a hit ? The one people that can stop it have no interest in stopping it. Thats the cell phone company.


Here in Blighty you cannot make a insurance claim for a lost or stolen phone without first making a police report and having the crime reference number.

The networks operate a database of IMEI's from stolen/lost phones which are automatically blocked.

Unfortunately the database is not shared/enforced in other countries, so sending the phone to be sold in Africa is the usual fare for crims.

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