New York Prosecutor Slams Cell Carriers for Rejecting Antitheft Switch

State attorney general is asking networks for details about why they killed the "kill switch"

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New York’s top prosecutor is seeking answers about why major U.S. cellphone carriers rejected an antitheft device that disables stolen phones.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to the CEOs of five major U.S. carriers asking for detailed information on why they did not support the so called “kill switch,” a feature that would allow phone owners to permanently disable a phone if it’s stolen. Schneiderman’s harsh words were delivered to the heads of AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular.

Samsung has sought to install the device on its phones. But according to the New York Times, emails reportedly reviewed by San Francisco’s district attorney reportedly indicate carriers were concerned the antitheft measure would eat into profits they earn from insurance programs that cover stolen phones.

In a statement, Schneiderman laid out the main legal concern. “If carriers are colluding to prevent theft-deterrent features from being preinstalled on devices as means to sell more insurance products, they are doing so at the expense of public safety and putting their customers in danger,” he said.

[New York Times]