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Brazil will be the first country in the world to have “Thief Mode” on Android mobile phones; See how it works | technology

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A woman looks at her cell phone on Avenida Paulista, in São Paulo – Photo: Marcelo Brandt/G1

First announced at Google I/O 2024, the search giant on Tuesday (11) officially announced the launch of “Thief Mode” on Android. The new feature, created to combat theft, locks a cell phone's screen when it determines that someone has suddenly snatched it from your hand.

Hey Brazil is the first country in the world to obtain this resourceWhich will be in the testing phase starting July for some users. To be activated, The device must be running Android 10 or higher.

The launch in Brazil was confirmed today during Google For Brasil 2024, the annual event for major tech companies to bring their news to the local market.

The company explained that the cell phone itself detects theft using artificial intelligence and the accelerometer, which is a sensor that measures vibration and acceleration. Once the criminal takes the device out of your hand, the device locks the screen and can only be activated again using the password.

According to Google, this technology can identify leaks on foot, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. The message “Potential theft detected: This device has been automatically locked to protect your data” appears shortly after the theft.

The Bicycle Gang motivated the creation of the resource

In a conference with the Brazilian press, Google said that in September 2023, several Android leaders came to Brazil to closely understand how mobile phone theft criminals operate. Among them was Samir Samat, head of the Android ecosystem.

Android feature that locks a cell phone screen if someone snatches it from your hand – Image: Google/Disclosure

The “Bicycle Gang” was one of the cases that caught the attention of Android leadership, prompting the creation of “Thief Mode”.. Gangs operating in downtown São Paulo roam the street looking for victims. When they find him, they snatch the cell phone from the victim's hand and walk away.

“Brazil is a top priority for Android leadership. It was important to have that context here in our country for them to announce these features today,” said Bruno Diniz, a software engineer at Google.

For the feature to work, the user must activate theft detection blocking in the device settings. Big tech companies admit that when enabled, the device may mistakenly recognize a sudden movement and lock the screen.

During Google For Brasil 2024, the company also announced “Offline Device Lock,” which automatically locks the smartphone screen if it is left without an Internet connection for a long period. This is to prevent criminals from trying to disconnect the device from the Internet so that they cannot be located.

Remote lock without logging in

Google also said it intends to facilitate unauthorized access to the device if it is stolen, stolen or lost. On a custom page, the user can Enter your cell phone number to instantly lock the screen from another device, such as a laptop.

To prevent bots from disrupting the large screen of many smartphones and even to avoid pranks between friends, the user needs to “complete a quick security challenge” before being blocked.

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