San Francisco’s District Attorney says that the country’s leading wireless carriers have shot down plans to include a “kill switch” on mobile devices to frustrate thieves.
On Monday, George Gascon revealed that an offer from Samsung to install software that would render stolen smartphones unusable had been rejected by Verizon Wireless (VZ), AT&T (T), Sprint (S), T-Mobile (TMUS) and U.S. Cellular (USM). The carriers object to the so-called “kill switch” because they fear that it could make smartphones vulnerable to hacking, the Associated Press notes.
Law enforcement authorities around the country have been pressuring smartphone makers to boost security on their devices as mobile device thefts grow. Smartphone thefts now comprise almost a third of all U.S. robberies and reportedly topped $30 billion last year.
Gascon accused carriers to blocking the “kill switch” so that they “can continue to shake down their customers for billions of dollars in insurance premiums.”
Samsung has proposed adding the Absolute LoJack anti-theft technology as a standard feature on its phones.
Rival Apple (AAPL) has recently introduced an “activation lock” in the iOS 7 operating system found on its iPhones. The company’s new flagship iPhone 5s also includes a fingerprint sensor to boost security.