(Rio de Janeiro) The American giant Google announced on Tuesday that Brazil would be the first country to test a system using artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically block smartphones using the Android system in the event of theft.

The largest country in Latin America was not chosen by chance: there are nearly two mobile phone thefts per minute, particularly in large metropolises like Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.  

“Feedback from Brazilians has inspired functions (of Android) against theft and this country will be the first to test them,” explained Fabio Coelho, boss of Google in Brazil.

The pilot version will be available to Brazilian users from July.

The main new feature consists of a system “that uses artificial intelligence to detect if someone snatches your phone from your hand and tries to escape by running, cycling or car,” explains Google.

Another new feature announced: the ability to block access to device data remotely without the need for a password, but only using the phone number.

Another function allows you to perform this blocking even if the phone is not connected to the internet.

Google’s main competitor for operational mobile phone systems, Apple launched anti-theft functions for its iOS system last January.

According to the latest data published by the reference NGO Public Security Forum, Brazil recorded almost a million phone thefts in 2022, or 1.9 per minute, an increase of 16.6% compared to the ‘last year.

Last year, the “bicycle gang” hit the headlines in Sao Paulo, increasing the number of phone thefts committed by individuals on bicycles.