Google to test anti-theft AI feature for phones in Brazil

Google has chosen Brazil, where nearly two cellphones are stolen every minute, to test a new AI system designed to automatically block stolen Android smartphones.

Brazilian users will now have access to features such as a private space for hiding sensitive apps behind a separate PIN, and automatic screen blocking if sudden movement indicating theft is detected.

The new system includes the ability to block access to device data remotely using just the phone number, without needing a password.

Google noted that feedback from Brazilian users inspired these anti-theft features, making Brazil the first country to test them.

The pilot version of these features will be available in Brazil starting in July, with plans to roll them out more broadly later this year.

Google's main competitor, Apple, launched a similar anti-theft system for iOS devices in January, highlighting the industry's focus on combating phone theft.

According to the Brazil Forum on Public Safety, nearly a million mobile phones were stolen in Brazil in 2022, a 16.6% increase from 2021, with thefts particularly high in major cities.