Have you been the victim of cellphone theft? It’s one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. Now, the big four cellphone providers – Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile USA – have agreed to be part of a new federal database of stolen phones. There’s a lucrative market for used devices, and thieves can sell them on eBay and other websites. When the database is up and running, consumers will be able to call a provider when their phone is stolen. The devices will be blocked from being used again. The Federal Communications Commission is set to announce the crackdown today. The move follows pressure by big city police chefs who’ve pushed regulators to force cellphone providers to come up with technology to disable stolen phones.
Tough times for Sony. The Japanese electronics giant has doubled its projected annual loss to $6.4 billion. Japanese news reports Monday said Sony would cut about 10,000 jobs worldwide in the next year as it tries to return to profitability, but the company would not confirm that. In the 80s and 90s, Sony was a dominant force in consumer electronics with the vast success of the Walkman and other devices. Now, much of its business – from cameras and cellphones to PlayStation game consoles and movies- is being affected by stiff competition and technological change.
Ben Bernanke is still worried about the U.S. economy. The head of the Federal Reserve says it has been more than 3 years since the darkest days of the financial crisis, but the U.S. economy is still far from fully recovered from its effects. Bernanke says financial risks are still a concern and more regulation might be needed for less supervised areas of the financial system. This could lead to more oversight of money market mutual funds.
The pain in Spain continues as investors fret over the possibility of a bailout at some time in the future. Interest rates rose again this morning. The yield on a 10-year Spanish bond increased to 5.8 percent. That rate is 4 percent higher than the equivalent German bond.