Google to trial AI-led phone theft prevention in Brazil

Google to trial AI-led phone theft prevention in Brazil

Google recently published a blog about its sixth annual Google for Brazil event, where it shared news of investments and innovations in the country. Not surprisingly, the innovation that seems to have attracted the strongest press attention has been an anti-theft artificial intelligence (AI) feature for phones.

As the company puts it, these are new Android features that use AI to protect people and their data if their smartphone gets stolen. Announced about a month ago, they are still being tested. Indeed, Google says: “Brazilian user feedback inspired these anti-theft features, and the country will be the first to test them out.”

Specifically, users will be testing a new theft detection lock, an offline device lock and a remote lock. One lock will use AI to help detect signals of "common movement associated with theft" and block the screen.

The second feature allows a user to lock the device's screen remotely by entering the phone number and completing a security challenge from another device. The last mode involves automatically locking the screen if the device is left without internet access for long periods.

The features will be available to Brazilian users of Android phones version 10 or higher starting in July and will be gradually released to users from other countries over the rest of this year.

Why Brazil? Phone theft is apparently a growing problem in the country, where nearly one million are alleged to have been stolen during 2023. indeed the Reuters news agency says the Brazilian government launched an app in December named Celular Seguro, which allows users to report a stolen phone and block access to it using another device belonging a trusted person.

Google’s event also highlighted new search experiences coming to Brazil, digital skills training efforts and the company’s local economic impact in 2023.

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