CTIA on Monday issued a Request for Proposal for the creation and operation of a Mobile Device Information Portal that will help prevent black market device sales.
According to the group, the new portal would be based on the Mobile Device Theft Prevention (MDTP) Working Group’s recommendations to the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (TAC).
CTIA said the portal will be a website that uses multiple source databases to provide information to consumers and commercial resellers about whether a device has been reported lost or stolen before they purchase it. The portal will also provide information to law enforcement looking to return a lost or stolen device to its owner.
CTIA said the portal will “help limit the black market resale of these used mobile devices in the United States” by expanding the availability of this information.
Currently, service providers maintain and share their own “blacklists” to prevent the reactivation of a stolen device on another provider’s network, CTIA said. Anti-theft measures have also been implemented by device manufacturers and mobile OS providers, but CTIA said those measures don’t help consumers who unwittingly purchase a stolen device.
“A major incentive for mobile device theft is the ability to resell to a buyer who believes that the device is legitimate and ready for use with service provider networks,” CTIA said in its RFP. “Thus, the next step in combating mobile device theft is communicating to potential buyers that a mobile device may be reported lost or stolen.”
According to Consumer Reports, a total of 4.5 million devices were lost or stolen in the U.S. in 2013. That number grew to a total of 6.2 million devices in 2014, 2.1 million of which were stolen.
Vendors interested in submitting a proposal must notify CTIA of their intent to do so by Feb. 15. Proposals are due by March 7. A vendor will be selected by April 1 and the system is expected to be fully operational within 14 months of vendor selection.