Google tests AI anti-theft feature for phones in Brazil

Available from July for Android version 10 or higher, the feature will gradually roll out to other countries.

phone, security

Alphabet’s Google announced that Brazil will be the first country to test a new anti-theft feature for Android phones, utilising AI to detect and lock stolen devices. The initial test phase will offer three locking mechanisms. One uses AI to identify movement patterns typical of theft and lock the screen. Another allows users to remotely lock their screens by entering their phone number and completing a security challenge from another device. The third feature locks the screen automatically if the device remains offline for an extended period.

These features will be available to Brazilian users with Android phones version 10 or higher starting in July, with a gradual rollout to other countries planned for later this year. Phone theft is a significant issue in Brazil, with nearly 1 million cell phones reported stolen in 2022, marking a 16.6% increase from the previous year.

In response to the rising theft rates, the Brazilian government launched an app called Celular Seguro in December, allowing users to report stolen phones and block access via a trusted person’s device. As of last month, approximately 2 million people had registered with the app, leading to the blocking of 50,000 phones, according to the Justice Ministry.