Moscow Metro police chief Andrei Mokhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that his department will soon have a new tool to locate stolen mobile phones. According to the report, the police will start installing SIM reading devices in Moscow’s subway systems. The devices will read the SIM cards inside a cell phone and check them against a database of stolen phones.
If a stolen SIM is detected, the system will send an alert to an attendant. The location of the alert along with closed circuit TV surveillance video from the subway station can be used to identify the person with the stolen phone. The SIM reading devices have a range of about 5 meters and read only the SIM cards.
According to Izvestia, the tracking does not run afoul of privacy laws as the laws prohibit the tracking of and not commercial property like SIM cards, which belong to the wireless carrier.