Feeds

Home Office mobe theft fight doubles in importance

Stolen phones in runaway value explosion

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The Home Office has published guidelines asking recyclers to check if phones are stolen, claiming that the business is worth £5m a year despite it being only worth £2.5m eight weeks ago.

When the then-Labour government started on the guidelines telling companies to continue doing what most of them were doing already, we were told that 100,000 phones were being stolen and sold to the recyclers every year, with an average value of £25 per handset. Today that 100,000 figure remains the same, but the average price has jumped to £40.

That's according to the Home Office press release, but take a look at the supporting website and that average figure has jumped another tenner, to £50 a handset. So now the business is worth £5m a year, and if current trends continue it could be worth twice that by the end of this article.

We can only assume that the jump is down to all those stolen iPhones and high-end Android handsets, otherwise we'd be obliged to attribute it to a government department that wants to look as though it's fighting a £5m-a-year crime rather than a £2.5m-a-year crime, and simply changed the numbers to make that happen.

The numbers come from Recipero, which tells us that the figure has indeed jumped to £40 a handset in the last two months but denies responsibility for the £50 figure. Recipero, by happy coincidence, runs the largest of the databases against which recycling companies will be required to check donated phones – for a small fee of course.

That fee is in addition to the £750 annual charge recycling companies will have to pay to sign up to the voluntary code (for a minimum of three years). That money goes to the Telecommunications UK Fraud Forum (TUFF), which will presumably also be responsible for checking that companies don't lie on their self-assessment form.

The vast majority of companies already check serial numbers (IMEI) against the international database of locked handsets, and with so many countries signed up there aren't many places where one can reasonably sell locked handsets. But it's true that until now there's been no official procedure regarding what to do if a stolen handset does arrive.

The new guidelines (pdf) do spell out those steps, but it's going to be down to the general public to stop selling old handsets to companies that refuse to stump up for the scheme, and we're not convinced that the general public cares enough to bother. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.