NEW YORK Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent letters to US telecoms companies demanding to know why they won't install a kill switch for the Samsung smartphones they sell.
The firms have already expressed a reluctance to install a kill switch that would render stolen phones useless if stolen. US wireless carriers AT&T, US Cellular, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all reportedly declined to enable Samsung's security feature, and Schneiderman wants to know why.
Schneiderman enlisted district attorneys in a Save Our Smartphones campaign. So far 30 district attorneys have put their names to it, and they have already sent at least one letter.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon told The New York Times in late November that the firms really ought to install the option.
"Corporate profits cannot be allowed to guide decisions that have life-or-death consequences," he said. "This solution has the potential to safeguard Samsung customers, but these emails suggest the carriers rejected it so they can continue to make money hand over fist on insurance premiums."
Today Schneiderman announced that he sent the companies a letter in which he asked for good reasons and explanations for their reluctance.
"For the past six months, the Secure Our Smartphone Initiative has called on the industry to put safety before profits and stop this violent epidemic. Considering this, it's disturbing that the nation's leading smartphone carriers knowingly dismissed technology that could save lives," he said.
"My office will determine whether these companies allowed their business relationships to influence their ability to take immediate action against theft. In the meantime, our coalition will continue to demand that the industry take every available step to ensure the security of our citizens."
The attorney general called for at least one of the firms to take the lead and show that it cares about its users' security.
"The first carrier to incorporate a kill switch on Samsung smartphones would burnish its reputation not only as the carrier of choice for consumers who want the best anti-theft technology, but also as a responsible corporate citizen," he added. µ