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Tara mobile app aims to prevent phone theft

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Galileo Software Services Inc., an information technology company established by former whistleblower Rodolfo Noel Lozada has unveiled a mobile security application called Tara, or theft apprehension and asset recovery application.

“We are making it available to all telcos and phone manufacturers before the end of the year,” Mr. Lozada, who became famous as the NBN-ZTE whistleblower, was quoted as saying.

The app service is available only to Smart Communications Inc. and Sun Cellular subscribers. The monthly fee for the package is PhP50 or an annual subscription of PhP500.

Mr. Lozada said Tara would render a stolen smartphone unusable through a “kill-switch” feature that would prevent the mobile phone’s brain from functioning again.

A 2014 National Telecommunications Communication report shows at least 30 smartphones were lost every day to pickpockets or thieves and were easily disposed in the grey market and re-sold to private individuals.

"In most cases, there is a feeling of helplessness among those who lost their phones," said Mr. Lozada.

Tara can lock the stolen phone with a text message, or call a call center to have his or her phone deactivated.

Tara would render the mobile phone unit useless even if the SIM card was removed or replaced, or memory was reformatted or erased, he said.

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