After a million phones were stolen in this country in a single year, Google tests anti-theft AI feature

After a million phones were stolen in this country in a single year, Google tests anti-theft AI feat
Brazil, the only country to lift the FIFA World Cup (that's football, or soccer) five times, is going to be the testing ground for Google's newest invention: an anti-theft AI feature.

A report by Reuters shines a light on the matter. The anti-theft feature will come to Android phones (duh, it's a Google feature after all, not Apple's!) and the AI part of it will try to identify when a phone has been stolen.

When such a scenario plays out, the anti-theft AI feature will lock the device's screen.

The trial phase will introduce three types of screen locks:

  • The first type employs AI to recognize "common movement associated with theft" and lock the screen.
  • The second feature allows users to remotely lock their screens by entering their phone number and completing a security challenge from another device.
  • The third mode automatically locks the screen if the device is offline for an extended period.

Not bad, eh?

These features will be available to Brazilian users with Android phones running version 10 or higher starting in July, with plans to gradually roll them out to users in other countries throughout the year.

This initiative comes in response to the rising problem of phone theft in Brazil. In 2022, the number of stolen cellphones in Brazil increased by 16.6% from the previous year, reaching nearly 1 million incidents, according to the 2023 Brazilian Public Security Yearbook.

In December, the Brazilian government launched an app called Celular Seguro, which enables users to report stolen phones and block access using another trusted device. As of the last month, approximately 2 million people have registered with the app, and 50,000 phones have been blocked, according to the Justice Ministry.

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