In today's edition of "U.S. wireless carriers are dicks", we're going to look at the latest in how carriers and the CTIA are protecting valuable revenue streams by blocking features that would curb smartphone theft.
Over 1.6 million U.S. consumers
had a smartphone stolen in 2012. One in three thefts within the U.S. involved a mobile gadget. Speaking to CBS This Morning today
, San Francisco's Attorney General stated that 50% of their robberies and thefts involved a smartphone. It's an epidemic and wireless carriers are dismissing the solution.
According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, officials from in New York, San Francisco, London and Philadelphia called on the wireless industry to present a solution. Samsung did just that earlier this year for its own devices, but the five largest U.S. wireless carriers denied it their customers.
According to emails obtained by CBS
, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular, all decided to not include the feature in the Samsung handsets sold by each carrier. Meanwhile, the CTIA, the trade association for wireless carriers, helped the FCC and certain police departments create online databases for stolen phones.
In theory, this list - compiled for, managed by, and unique to each wireless carrier - would prevent stolen smartphones from being reactivated. But it doesn't protect against data theft, and is largely useless if the phone is shipped out of the country. A kill switch is needed and placed in the hands of smartphone owners.