Price Harry’s phone stolen; shouldn’t every handset have a remote wipe function?

Helen over at Wireless Disciples writes that our very own Prince Harry had his phone swiped in a South African nightclub by an enterprising youth.? Let’s move swiftly by? the, er, close-protection-officers who, one would assume, should be live to this kind of thing.? If you can steal Prince Harry’s mobile phone, you can, one imagines, stick him with a knife.

Now, who’s in charge of handsets at Buckingham Palace?? And have they got a remote wipe on every Royal handset?? I should think that would be a critical requirement, no?

The last thing you need is for the Prince’s text messages and photos to be displayed across The News of The World.

Why doesn’t every handset come with this function as standard?? Or integrated-as-standard and available to interested subscribers for an extra 2 pounds a month?? Obviously as part of this, your address book and all personal information on your handset would be stored remotely anyway.

If you work on the basis of a notional 20 million contract subscribers in the UK and assume, perhaps with a prevailing wind, that 5 million sign up for such a facility. In fact, let’s reduce that to 1 million people.? One million sign up.? 2 quid a month.? That’s a ?48 million a year market.

I’d pay 2 quid a month for this.? You would, too, right?

Whatever the actual metrics, this is another example of a market need being entirely ignored by the mobile industry.? There are pockets of possibility — Zyb, Mobyko and so on.? But I won’t hold my breath.

As for Prince Harry?? He didn’t have to worry too much as Helen reports:

Officers from the Lesotho Defence Force eventually managed to track down the culprit two days later and retrieved the phone and said, “When we eventually found the culprit it took quite some time to explain to him that he had stolen from the prince. To him Prince Harry was just one of those white guys.”

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

9 replies on “Price Harry’s phone stolen; shouldn’t every handset have a remote wipe function?”

Remote wipe is nothing without remote backup.

The problem is, what if it gets wiped accidentally or maliciously? If I log in with your password (5m5t3xtn3w5?) I can cripple your phone. And ruin your day.

Blackberrys do this rather well – if you type in the password incorrectly ten times, the handset is wiped. All the info is safely stored on your computer / server.

Of course, if you're a smart thief, once you've stolen the phone, you remove the SIM. No SIM means no “magic” SMS to wipe the handset.

Some solutions detect the changed or missing USIM, and can delete after a set number of attempts to unlock the handset.

Agreed Ewan, the industry appears to be leaving some 'money on the table' here, but from an MNO's perspective it's small beans, which would probably cost far more to implement across the base than the revenue/customer Brownie points would be.

Is there another way of rendering the handset useless? What happens when the operator blocks the IMEI then?

Are there any remote wipe services out there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.