Carriers slammed for rejecting smartphone 'kill switch'

Officials in New York and San Francisco called the carriers' response 'highly disturbing'

Law enforcement officials trying to rein in violent smartphone theft have criticized cellular operators who they say rejected a solution that would help address the problem.

"It is highly disturbing that these corporations rejected a proposal that would have helped keep millions of consumers safe," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a joint statement Wednesday.

The officials have been pushing for a "kill switch" that could render smartphones inoperable after they're stolen, reducing the incentive for crime. But news reports this week suggested carriers have rejected the idea.

"If they did so to protect their own profit margins, as several recent reports suggest, it is even more egregious," the pair said in their statement.

"Companies that choose to prioritize profits over safety put consumers everywhere at risk. Since smartphone thefts so often result in violence, we call on manufacturers and carriers alike to make the opt-out kill switch an industry-wide standard."

The carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, United States Cellular and Sprint, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Robberies involving smartphones have been increasing across the U.S., and in many major cities they now make up the majority of serious street crime. In many cases, victims are physically attacked or threatened with knives or guns for their phones.

The two officials have had some success with Apple and Samsung. Apple designed new security features into the latest version of its iOS operating system and Samsung is shipping new handsets with a security software package installed.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CriminalAppleconsumer electronicslegalSamsung Electronicssmartphones

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?