Gadget Makers Can Find Thief, but Don’t Ask –

Anger at Makers When Gadgets Go Missing –

Kindle 2 Stolen

I was surprised to read this. I assumed that if somebody stole my phone, or the Kindle I don’t have, the phone company or Amazon would “brick it” (to use the latest vernacular: brick (v) – to turn a piece of expensive electronics into something as useful as a house brick).

But as Oscar Wilde is reported to have said said “assume is to make an ass out of you and me”.

I guess that Amazon and the phone companies in the US don’t want the hassle – and the recriminations if they brick a device because of an illegitimate request.

See the hassle Flickr got itself into when trying to comply with a DMCA takedown request. This issue is interesting because it seems to show how hasty Flickr can be in responding to complaints. Where have I seen this before? Here.

In other countries it is routine for carriers to brick a stolen phone if the original owner can provide the unique id of the phone (its IMEI).

Cynics will say that Amazon will resist bricking a stolen Kindle as it can continue to sell content for it. I don’t know if they are that cynical, it is more likely they don’t want to open a new can of worms. Business is so complex and legal issues so abundant I can understand their reluctance.

But in this case it seems like the right thing to do, given that they verify the applicant’s identity as the owner of the device and not a pissed off boyfriend.

I don’t know what Thai phone companies will do if you report your phone stolen. I should find out.


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