Largest smartphone carriers reject Samsung Electronics’ ‘kill switch’

Someone using a Samsung Galaaxy smartphone

In an effort to reduce Smartphone thefts, Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, proposed installing a built-in anti-theft measure known as a “kill switch” that would render stolen or lost phones inoperable. However, the nation’s biggest carriers, AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, United States Cellular Corp., Sprint Corp., and T-Mobile US Inc., have rejected the idea.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon would love for the new anti-theft measure to be in place as almost 50 percent of all of their robberies and thefts include those of cell phone devices. Gascon, along with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says, “The solution is a “kill switch,” which would disable a stolen phone, making it worthless to the thieves.”

The wireless industry says a kill switch isn’t the answer because it could allow a hacker to disable someone’s phone.

The Wireless Association, which represents he major service providers, said although they aren’t in favor of the “kill switch,” they are working on alternatives. “CTIA and its member companies worked hard over the last year to help law enforcement with its stolen phone problem adding, “one of the components of the efforts was to create an integrated database designed to prevent stolen phones from being reactivated.”

Although the popular Samsung Galaxy Smartphones are currently shipped across the country without LoJack as a standard feature, users can pay a subscription fee for the service to track the device.

Apple offers a similar function known as the “activation lock,” as a part of part of its iOS 7 software that was eventually released this fall. The new activation lock feature is designed to prevent thieves from turning off the Find My iPhone application, which allows owners to track their phone on a map, remotely lock the device and delete its data. The activation lock requires someone to know the user’s Apple ID and password to reactivate a phone, even after all the data on the device is erased.

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