NY Attorney General asks why cell phone companies are blocking anti-theft tech

The idea seems simple enough, a kill-switch inside you smart phone that would make it useless if it was stolen or lost. Samsung, the worldâ??s largest cell phone manufacturer, came up with a plan to install this safeguard, but now the New York Attorney General is investigating why Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile all blocked it.

This revelation has cell phone customers concerned.

"If I'm purchasing a new plan, that's something I'm going to think about absolutely because our phones carry a lot of data, a lot of personal information,â?? said Melanie Carroll, of Syracuse.

The Attorney General, among others, wonders if the carriers would rather charge customers for expensive insurance plans instead of providing better security. Stolen phones can also end up back on the network, meaning more monthly fees for phone companies.

Nick Papantonis says: â??Like everything else, I think it comes down to money."

SU student Aidan Mayer says: â??I definitely think it would make the perception of phone companies a lot better if they would use the kill-switch on phones.â??

As smart phones have become more prevalent, they have been targeted. The FCC says one in three thefts in the U.S. involves a cell phone.

Roderick Wortham from The Tech Shop in Syracuse wonders why the phone companies wouldnâ??t want the kill-switch. "Why doesn't someone want something that is essentially there to protect people?"

At The Tech Shop in Syracuse, Wortham specializes in repairing computers and iPhones.

He says Appleâ??s latest iPhone has an anti-theft disabling feature, and carriers should be willing to allow a similar feature on all smart phones.

"They kind of want to have their cake and eat it too,â?? Wortham says. â??Where they want to be - we want to help but at the same time, we don't want to stop our revenue either."

The New York State Attorney General says he wants an explanation by December 31st from the cell phone carriers about why they continue to block kill switch technology.