South Korea launches first GSMA ‘We Care’ initiative in Asia, tackling international device crime

Seoul: South Korea’s mobile operators are acting to protect consumers against lost or stolen mobile devices as part of a major new GSMA initiative in the country. The launch of the GSMA’s We Care in South Korea will see local operators SKT, KT and LG Uplus share information on lost and stolen devices with the GSMA Black List, allowing reported lost or stolen phones to be blocked both home and abroad.

The initiative is launched in collaboration with the Korea Association for ICT Promotion (KAIT) and is supported by South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT. The various parties will commit to the We Care Charter at a signing ceremony in Seoul today. The signing will mark the first launch of We Care in the Asia Pacific region.

“We are delighted to see South Korea’s mobile industry and government coming together to protect its mobile phone users from becoming victims of international device crime,” said Julian Gorman, Head of Asia Pacific, GSMA. “Today’s agreement demonstrates how national mobile ecosystems can deliver real benefits and protections for consumers as part of the GSMA’s We Care initiative – and we hope it will be the first of many We Care launches across Asia.”

Under the agreement, South Korea’s existing Central Equipment Identity Registry (C-EIR), operated by KAIT, will be connected to the GSMA IMEI Database used for reducing international device crime. The platform allows both parties to exchange blacklisted IMEI data on lost or stolen devices, ensuring compromised devices can be blocked locally and globally. Once criminals learn that stolen devices are likely to be quickly disabled, device theft becomes much less attractive.

The GSMA Black List is updated daily through reports from more than 125 operators from 42 countries around the world, protecting more than one billion people worldwide.

We Care in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals 
Through the GSMA’s We Care initiative, operators around the world are taking steps to ensure their customers can enjoy the transformative benefits of mobile technology in a safe and reliable environment. These in-country campaigns support the mobile industry’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, allowing operators to drive impact at a local level.

Driven by operators, together with the GSMA, We Care campaigns address ten key areas. These topic areas include: digital inclusion; children and mobile; environmental care; disaster response; SMS spam control; mobile privacy; mobile and health; infrastructure deployment; contribution to public safety; and handset theft.

The first We Care campaign was launched in February 2014. To date, there are 29 We Care campaigns running in 20 markets worldwide, in collaboration with 67 mobile operators.

“We are very glad to sign the GSMA We Care campaign for the first time in Asia, which is aimed at preventing theft of mobile devices and the illegal use of them. SKT plans to actively participate in campaigns such as We Care which support the Sustainable Development Goals and protect customers’ rights. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to MSIT, KAIT and GSMA for organising this campaign and encouraging the participation of the domestic operators,” said Young-sang Kwon, Director, SKT

“We are honored to be the first Asian country and carrier to participate in the GSMA’s We Care campaign. We recognised the need for taking proactive action to protect the customers from device crime, which could result not only in personal economic losses but also incidences such as the leakage of personal information. We will also offer cooperation for preventing customers’ damage. We would like to express a big appreciation to MSIT, KAIT and GSMA for their efforts," said Han-chul Bae, Director, KT

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