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New York Wants to Know Why Carriers Nixed Kill Switch

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Dec 11, 2013, 7:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

New York State's attorney general has sent letters to the CEOs of the top five wireless network operators in the U.S. with questions about their failure to adopt anti-theft features in their phones. Law enforcement officials in New York and San Francisco are spearheading an effort to reduce phone-related crimes. Samsung developed a kill switch that would let smartphone owners brick their lost or stolen device remotely. San Francisco's district attorney saw emails between Samsung and the carriers that suggest the carriers didn't want to put kill switches in their phones because they fear it might cut into the profits they make from selling insurance programs. "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," said New York's attorney general. He alleges the top carriers all reached the decision to reject the kill switch at about the same time this year and wants to know if they spoke with one another, Asurion (phone insurance provider), or the CTIA Wireless Association about the matter. The CTIA has opposed the idea of kill switches. New York wants each carrier to explain the business rationale behind its decision and submit responses by December 31. According to The New York Times, thefts of the iPhone and iPad alone accounted for 14% of all crime in New York City last year.


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Dec 12, 2013, 12:08 AM

Sell it & Kill it

If they had kill switches, how many people would use it to screw over other people? Get a phone somewhere, turn around and sell it, after you get the cash, hit the kill switch.
There are so many things wrong with the idea that no explanation for carrier opposition to the idea is really necessary. And honestly, the law is unenforceable. So.....New York state will require that phones sold in their state be different from tho...

Dec 11, 2013, 2:36 PM

Problems with a kill switch

Who really controls it? Is it only accessible by the end-user? How is transfer of control of the kill switch done when phones are sold or given to 3rd or 4th parties. What happens when couples split up and get mad and want to kill the other one's phone? I wouldn't want a remote kill switch on my tv or computer or anything else if I owned. What if the site hosting the kill switch gets hacked and then large amounts of devices are killed? I have no problems with people optionally installing this software on their own but built-in as part of the firmware really worries me about it.
Yup. Also, the fact that the police are concerned about this makes my blood boil.

If cell phone crime accounts for 15% of overall crime rates, they should be throwing a party because guess what? it doesn't really matter. We've become so decadent t...
The part about couples breaking up using the kill switch to screw each other over is important...

When I worked for at&t I personally dealt with literally hundreds of customers who wanted to suspend a phone on their account, some line other than th...

Dec 11, 2013, 9:19 AM

Thanks to Apple...

...this is a discussion that's even happening. Glad they dictate to the carriers as opposed to Samsung's caving to them 😲
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