This is where Protect places my BlackBerry
You guys write about apps like BlackBerry Protect and SmrtGuard all the time, and I thought I would give Protect a try. Just my luck, last week I had my BlackBerry stolen and I turned on Protect to see if I could find it. Protect gave me a map with a pin of where my device is, accurate to about 6 meters (ED NOTE: pictured above). So I decided to call the police and report it stolen because it’s technically theft over $500, making it worth police attention. In the report I said I have software installed to help find my BlackBerry and an investigator called me back a few days ago. I gave him the screenshot and he said he would get back to me. This is what he said:
“Honestly, since no address is provided it would be impossible for us to follow up on that information. Unfortunately the police cannot go randomly door to door asking if stolen property is inside. We need more concrete information. Also, at the time you captured that data it may have been possible that the suspect was simply walking in the area. Having said that I don’t believe there are any solvability factors in this case. The file will be closed and submitted for information purposes only. If there is anything else I can do for you please don’t hesitate to ask.”
So what’s the point in all this software? Why do services like SmrtGuard say “Find your lost or stolen phone” when I can’t use GPS as evidence for police? How do I get my stolen BlackBerry back?
Thanks and love the site,
Good point. A recent story of someone actually getting back their stolen device (in this case a laptop), is Sean Power. The software used was called Prey, and it’s a lot like Protect and SmrtGuard but with far more features. If you read the story, you can see that there are a few key features needed to get the laptop, the most important of which seems to be the ability to view the current screen and what the thief is doing on your device. Whereas BlackBerry Protect seems more about wiping data and locking the device, there are some clear benefits to being able to let the thief tinker away on the device and reveal private information. See this:
It seems that BlackBerry Protect could do be much more useful for stolen devices if it had some way to act like the Prey software while still keeping your data safe. Here is what I propose: allow the user to wipe the data, but leave the smartphone open for use. Allow the user to monitor the device, record keystrokes, log phone calls and have all of this data sent back to you in a report. I guarantee if the police had a long list of calls made, names, GPS locations etc. they would have enough “solvability factors” to keep get a warrant for an arrest. But in the end you’re right, I don’t think just a GPS location and wipe capability is enough to truly recover a stolen phone.
Thanks for reading and sorry about your phone.