Stolen iPods, Kindles, Easy to Reactivate

Companies won't help track down thieves

The makers of gadgets like the iPod and Kindle seem to have no problem doing business with the person who stole yours.

Thieves are able to use and even register the devices, and the manufacturers often refuse to disclose information about the new owners of missing devices unless cops come with a search warrant. The companies usually refuse to even shut down service to a gadget they know has been stolen.

The problem has been highlighted with the Kindle reader from Amazon, with its ability to download books wirelessly and store hundreds of titles. Samuel Borgese told The New York Times he left his on a plane, then canceled his account. But when he asked Amazon to bar anyone else from registering his device, the company refused.

“I finally concluded,” Mr. Borgese said, “that Amazon knew the device was being used and preferred to sell content to anyone who possessed the device, rather than assist in returning it to its rightful owner.”

Sirius XM Radio also says it needs to see a subpoena before it will deactivate missing radios. IPhone owners have a number of options to search for lost or stolen handsets, but if someone can shut down or elude those systems, and if the phone’s SIM card is replaced, it can be used by its new owner.

Get more: The New York Times

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