According to the article:
Thieves can sell pilfered devices to local merchants or street-corner middlemen—or hawk them on sites such as eBay.com, Amazon.com or Craigslist.org, where a used iPhone, for instance, can fetch several hundred dollars.I don't see any way at all this could be abused or misused.
There's no way someone might sell a legitimate used phone, but have it reported as stolen just to be a jerk. Or there's no way that a spited significant other might report a phone as stolen to get back at their ex.
Registries don't work. They don't accomplish their initial purpose, and they merely serve as a vehicle to get further governmental intrusion into our lives. How big of a step is it from a stolen phone registry to a phone registry. Telecoms couldn't activate a phone, or provide service to it, unless it validated against the database.
After all, criminals and drug dealers use pay-as-you-go phones to conduct their business, so the tool must be intrinsically evil, right? And it has to be controlled by the government, right?
Any similarities to my thoughts on gun control and gun registries are not incidental AT ALL.