Friday, November 22, 2013

So why won't cell phone carriers install kill-switch software on their phones?

Earlier this year, cell phone companies met with law enforcement officials who were alarmed at the number of cell phone thefts and robberies. For a number of cities, these thefts were so numerous that crime numbers went up in some cities solely because of these crimes. The cell phone manufacturers agreed to install features that would make the devices useless if they were reported stolen and consequently reduce the demand for illicitly obtained cell phones.

Now we see a number of stories that while cell phone manufacturers are willing to install these kill-switches, cell phone carriers are balking.

This piece from The New York Times Bits Blog offers this potential explanation:
Mr. Gascón said that, based on e-mails he had reviewed between a Samsung executive and a software developer, it appeared that the carriers were unwilling to allow Samsung to load the antitheft software. The emails, he said, suggest that the carriers are concerned that the software would eat into the profit they make from the insurance programs many consumers buy to cover lost or stolen phones.
Via The New York Times

There was also a piece in CNet this week where the New York Attorney General and the San Francisco District Attorney joined forces in ripping the cell phone industry over their reticence to allow manufacturers to install these theft reduction features.
"Since smartphone thefts so often result in violence, we call on manufacturers and carriers alike to make the opt-out kill switch an industrywide standard," the officials said in a joint statement released Tuesday.
Via CNet

The refusal by cell phone carriers to implement these common sense anti-theft features is just plain wrong. Even around the sleepy little burg where I work we have adult thieves robbing school children of their smartphones with threats of violence or even with weapons. And all because these devices can be wiped and resold to unsuspecting resellers or purchasers.

Installing features that would "brick" a phone that was reported stolen would reduce their resale value to nothing and would remove the incentive for thieves to target these devices.

Most folks opinions of their cell phone carriers is right up there with congressmen and used car salesman. For the carriers to balk on this so they can up-sell customers overpriced insurance is the height of douche-baggery.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I reserve the right to remove defamatory, libelous, inappropriate or otherwise stupid comments. If you are a spammer or are link baiting in the comments, a pox be upon you. The same goes for people trying to sell stuff. Your comment will be deleted without mercy.