New York Attorney General earlier this week sent letters to the chief executive officers of U.S. wireless carriers seeking information regarding their decision to prohibit Samsung from pre-loading an opt-out "kill switch" application on approved smartphones.
The letter by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman was sent to US wireless carriers - Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, United States Cellular Corporation.
The "kill switch" application had been proposed by Samsung for its Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. It would enable legitimate smartphone users to "brick" their stolen phones remotely and render them permanently inoperable when they fall into the wrong hands.
As co-chair of the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S.) Initiative Schneiderman has been leading an international coalition of prosecutors, police chiefs, attorneys general, public officials and consumer activists in pushing phone manufacturers and carriers to roll out anti-theft technology immediately, to remove the economic incentives behind smartphone thefts.
"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," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "My office will determine whether these companies allowed their business relationships to influence their ability to take immediate action against theft."
Samsung described the press reports on this issue as "unfair," adding that the company was making proposals to implement a specific technical solution. Samsung says it continues discussions with each of the carriers to evaluate a different kill switch solution and that they have confirmed they will support "a free and secure kill switch application."
"We will continue to work with them and with the Secure Our Smartphones initiative to find an effective solution that addresses this critical issue," Samsung said.
Schneiderman is requesting that all the carriers provide a detailed explanation of their decision to reject Samsung's proposal and any other kill-switch technologies. Their replies are due to the Attorney General's Office by December 31, 2013.