Carriers Buck Against Smartphone Kill Switch

In June, law enforcement authorities started calling on the smartphone industry to adopt technologies that would deter theft by squeezing the market for selling stolen devices. Now, the industry is pushing back.

HereEUs the back story: New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced a nationwide Secure Our Smartphones Initiative last summer that aims to see smartphone makers add a kill switch to mobile devices during the summer. Law enforcement announced plans to work with device manufacturers to make a "kill switch," or equally effective deterrent technology, a standard feature of their products.

ThereEUs good reason for concern. According to Consumer Reports, 30 percent to 40 percent of all robberies reported nationwide are for thieves stealing cell phones. In 2012, 1.6 million Americans were victimized for their smartphones. A Harris poll of phone owners found that nearly 10 percent said their phones had been stolen at one point, and a recent study found that lost and stolen cell phones cost consumers more than $30 billion last year.

Killing Kill Switch Momentum

The CTIA, the wireless industry trade group that represents the carriers, has been against the idea since it was announced. The group emphatically stated that a EUkill switch isnEUt the answer.EU But Gascon forged ahead anyway, and the New York Times is reporting that heEUs trying to get Samsung on board.

The district attorney wants the electronics giant to preload software on its phones that would require approval from carriers that service the phones. But Gascon told the NYT that wireless carriers, like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, are not on board with the idea. And heEUs not happy about it.

EUCorporate profits cannot be allowed to guide decisions that have life-or-death consequences,EU Gascon told the paper. EUThis solution has the potential to safeguard Samsung customers,...

Comments are closed.