Charge Them With Racketeering (Cell Carriers)
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2013-11-22 11:41 by Karl Denninger
in Consumer , 160 references Ignore this thread
Charge Them With Racketeering (Cell Carriers)

Want to get mad?  Read this.

Some of the biggest US cellular networks have been accused of preventing Samsung from installing anti-theft remote "kill switch" software on smartphones: supposedly, because they were worried it would eventually cut into profits.

San Francisco district attorney George Gascón said he had been working with Sammy to get the LoJack security software installed by default on the South Korean manufacturer's Android handsets. But when Samsung pitched this to the five main US carriers they all said "no, thanks", it seems.

The reason for this is not "just" the ridiculously-overpriced "handset insurance" marketed by the carriers (and Assurion which provides most of the coverage) it is also, and probably far more importantly, due to the fact that if you're under contract you can be effectively forced to buy a new handset at full price if yours is stolen.

There's a word for designing business systems to profit from illegal activity, even if you're not the source of the activity.  You need only profit from any of the listed unlawful acts.

The solution to this problem is to give control of the handset's "lock" to the customer through a web-based interface, allowing him or her to permanently lock a device until and unless he or she drops the lock.  Placing that software in NVRAM would make it impervious to a hard reset or even a firmware reflash (if done correctly.)

I'm willing to bet a case can be made that carrier demands to suppliers that such capability not be included falls within that boundary, given that it is profitable specifically because of the thefts that occur, and that the suppression of solutions to that problem has been systematically enforced by these carriers.

Do any of the prosecutors in these areas have the balls to indict Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile along with the various MVNOs?

We'll see.