US mobile carriers are urged to explain why they refused to implement â€œkill-switchâ€ software for their devices to deter smartphone theft, according to Tech World.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent letters to the five largest cellphone companies, asking them to explain their refusal to implement anti-theft measures. He suggested that mobile giants could face legal action for their decision.
“I note the close business ties that AT&T and the other major carriers enjoy with the CTIA – the trade association which reportedly coordinates the industry’s response to kill-switch technology – and with Asurion – the company that provides theft and loss insurance to consumers through every U.S. carrier,â€Â Schneiderman wrote to AT&T.
He also sent similar letters to Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. The attorney general argued that companies â€œreached exactly the same competitive decision at about the same time,â€ which raises â€œreal questions about the independence of [the] decision.”
â€œIf carriers are colluding to prevent theft-deterrent features from being pre-installed 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,â€ Schneiderman said.
The letters came a month after phone carriers allegedly refused Samsungâ€™s proposal to install a software locking system that would make smartphones useless if they are stolen.
Smartphone theft accounts for almost half of all street crime in New York City and is also a large problem in other major U.S cities. Mobile carriers should answer allegations until the end of this year.