Chuck Schumer on the Side of Phone Losers

WASHINGTON - MARCH 15: U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) takes a call on his cellular phone after stepping away from a media conference on Capitol Hill March 15, 2006 in Washington, DC. At the media conference, Schumer and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced that they plan to travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong next week to discuss Chinese currency measure practices, intellectual property issues as well as port security with officials there. The trip will occur prior to a scheduled Senate vote on whether to impose a high tariff on Chinese goods, in apparent retaliation to the Chinese yuan being reportedly held at an artificially low exchange rate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Photo: Alex Wong/2006 Getty Images

Chuck Schumer knows that one of the many, many annoying things about losing a cell phone is the idea of the monster who took it away using it, or profiting from its sale. On Sunday, the senator moved to make the experience of creating that "I Need Numbers" Facebook group a little less painful by pressing carriers to make it harder to sell stolen phones on the black market. Standing outside an AT&T and holding an iPhone aloft for emphasis, Schumer urged telecommunications companies to employ technology that would allow them to render missing devices useless by deactivating them, as opposed to just disconnecting the SIM cards.

However, Verizon already does this, as does AT&T, according to a spokesman's response to Schumer's proposal:

But if you are a customer of ours, and lose or think your cell phone has been stolen, we deactivate it immediately. And no one can use it.

Does this mean that the senator is a T-Mobile user? Or, more likely, that he's just never personally dealt with a lost phone? (And whose iPhone was that?) Either way, the NYPD says that 41 percent of theft complaints in New York City include a cell phone. Those familiar with the why-am-I-being-cursed? feeling associated with these disappearances, not to mention customers of less thoughtful phone companies, appreciate the gesture.

Sen. Chuck Schumer calls for tougher stolen cell phone regulation [NYDN]