Skip to main content /TECH with IDG.net
CNN.com /TECH
CNN TV
EDITIONS

Dutch police fight cell theft with text 'bombs'

image
Network World Fusion

(IDG) -- The Amsterdam police force Tuesday announced that it has found a new weapon against the rising theft of mobile telephones: text message "bombs."

After a user reports his GMS handset stolen, the police start sending out one Short Message Service text message to the phone every three minutes: "This handset was nicked, buying or selling is a crime. The police."

"We hope this will make mobile phones an unattractive loot," said Elly Florax, head of communications for the Amsterdam-Amstelland police force.

IDG.net INFOCENTER
IDG.net
Related IDG.net Stories
Features
Visit an IDG site


IDG.net search



The deluge of messages is sent out using a computer system that was especially designed for the police, said Florax. If other police forces want to try it, they are welcome to, she added.

Mobile phone theft is rising rapidly in Amsterdam. In January, 453 cases of street robbery were reported, three-quarters of which involved mobile phones, according to a police statement. In January last year, the police received 268 reports of street robbery.

"We have a real GSM theft problem. Perpetrators think it's no big deal -- they just go get a new GSM, but a mugging is more serious than shoplifting," said Florax, noting that the police are increasingly successful in catching handset thieves. So far this year 150 arrests have been made.

Outwitting criminals who take out the phone's Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card, the police take advantage of the handset's International Mobile Equipment Identity number. Using this hardware identification number, the police can track down what mobile phone number is being used on the phone; this number is stored on the SIM card. Once the number is known, it's bombs away.

"It is very true that a lot of mobile phones get stolen. This appears to be a serious attempt to make it more complicated to sell a stolen mobile phone," said Carla van Lomwel, spokeswoman for KPN Mobile NV, the Netherlands' largest mobile phone operator.

Besides "SMS bombs," the GSM theft-fighting effort includes a promotions team that will hand out flyers on public transportation and at schools. To interest teenagers -- heavy users of mobile phones -- a "GSM prevention song" by Dutch rap artists has been recorded.

The police offensive will be evaluated on April 27.



RELATED STORIES:
Wireless convention showcases untethered future
March 27, 2001
Sprint PCS to begin 3G migration this year
March 21, 2001
Researchers outline vision of 4G wireless world
March 8, 2001
Palm prepares for the wireless world
March 8, 2001
Symantec to offer SMS notification of viruses
March 1, 2001
AOL brings instant messenger to mobile phones
February 26, 2001
Analysis: Will wireless tech erode privacy?
February 21, 2001

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
TI backs fingerprinting for wireless Web
(InfoWorld.com)
Race is on for 3G wireless
(InfoWorld.com)
Wireless companies aim for customer service
(IDC)
Virgin Atlantic to offer Internet, e-mail access on all flights
(Computerworld)
EU to examine 3G mobile licence allocations
(IDG.net)
Voice-enabled access is next step for wireless
(IDG.net)
High-speed mobile wireless takes three giant steps
(Computerworld)
Lotus Notes teams with Ericsson, Nokia
(IDG.net)

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


 Search   





MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 













Back to the top