There Oughta Be A Law

Should gadget makers "brick" your phone--refusing to let a new use register it--if it's stolen?

The biggest worry most people have with a lost device is that someone will call Guam on their phone and talk for 9 hours, so gadget makers say their priority is shutting down the account to prevent fraudulent charges.  And the New York Times wrongly implies with its headline that gadget makers can always find your phone; in the cases where I've had something stolen, the thieves usually tried to use it a few times, then tossed it.

Still, no one should be able to use a stolen phone, Kindle, or other gadget.  The manufacturers have an easy way to make the black market in used electronics much less profitable, and it's just obvious common sense that they should disable the device immediately, and seize any stolen phones that are activated on their network.   If you're using a Kindle or an iPhone, the company has quite a lot of information on you, and they should use that information to reunite owners with their lost property.

But apparently they don't, because they'd rather sell content to the thief, or the person who purchased the device from the thief.  This seems like an obvious place for some basic regulation.