You might remember awhile ago we did a story about police agencies requesting a ‘kill switch’ to help curb mobile phone thefts. But phone carriers have rejected the idea, despite manufacturers move to offer the feature.
Every year, more than one and a half million smartphones are stolen in the United States alone, the highest number of thefts related to iPhones. With these statistics in hand, law enforcement agencies and the consumer protection group Secure Our Smartphones asked manufacturers like Apple and Samsung to begin implementing this kill switch into their models.
Samsung has been the first to release word of their software update, which would essentially brick a phone by making it inoperable when stolen. That option would be handled from the end of the consumer who had lost the device.
But in order to work, mobile carriers have to agree and allow the feature to be used. Five of the US’s biggest carriers have said that they will not take that step, rejecting the kill switch.
Why would carriers do this, you might ask? After all, security should be at the forefront of their minds. There are only theories floating around, but the biggest (and most reliable) is that they are trying to keep up their revenue.
This kill switch would curb thefts, because they would no longer be valuable commodities if they couldn’t be immediately sold before the user bricked it. Which means fewer stolen phones, which means fewer people replacing those stolen phones.
Insurance plans are a hot profit item for carriers, who require a deductible be paid to replace a device. Most people don’t get insurance, which means buying a new phone at full price. Or, as is more likely, paying a discounted price that ropes them into a two year contract of overpriced smartphone service from providers.
Whatever the user chooses, the carriers makes a heavy profit when smartphones are stolen. The only one who isn’t happens to be the victim of the theft, and mobile carriers couldn’t care less about that.
Just to make the carriers sound even more like evil sociopaths, a number of thefts are violent in nature. They are actively helping to continue dangerous muggings of people for their smartphones. All so they can make more money on the insurance premiums and replacements of those same victims. It is exploiting people to a disgusting degree.
Among the carriers who have rejected the killswitch are AT&T, TMobile, Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular.
Source: NY Times