Is AT&T, Verizon's Corporate Greed Compromising Your Safety, Security?

A proposal to require antitheft software would cut into carrier profits from insurance programs that customers buy to cover lost or stolen phones.

November 21, 2013

1 Min Read
Is AT&T, Verizon's Corporate Greed Compromising Your Safety, Security?

By Daniel Santa Cruz

With data security becoming a larger concern, some lawmakers are urging cellphone makers to adopt a “kill switch” that would allow users to deactivate their lost or stolen phone remotely. The idea is to discourage thieves from stealing the devices. Sounds rational, right? Perhaps, but major U.S. carriers aren’t behind the plan. 

San Francisco’s District Attorney, George Gascon, has been talking with Samsung about including antitheft software on all of its phones distributed in the U.S. That would require approval from mobile operators  most notably the big four (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile)  who sell the phones. But the carriers, according to the New York Times, are reluctant to get on board because that would render useless the insurance they sell to cover stolen or lost handsets cutting into profits.

Gascon said that ” … profits cannot be allowed to guide decisions that have life-or-death consequences,” noting how people have injured and even killed for their smartphones. The carriers have the backing of CTIA, the association that represents them, which this past summer said that “a kill switch isn’t the answer.” CTIA also noted how hackers could turn the kill switch against customers by taking control of it and disabling their devices.

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