Absolute Software could revolutionize smartphone theft retrieval, but AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular don’t want them to.
For a $30 annual fee, Absolute Software’s team of ex-law enforcement have tracked down 30,000 electronic devices in more than 100 countries over their two-decade career, and recently tracked a smartphone all the way to the Dominican Republic, according to a Huffington Post report.
Now the company wants to install its software, which can track and disable stolen devices, in the millions of Samsung Galaxy products using major service providers — but the providers don’t want the technology.
Some speculate that the providers are blocking the tech because customers may be less inclined to buy smartphone insurance plans if they knew their phones could be tracked if stolen.
“If carriers are colluding to prevent theft-deterrent features from being pre-installed on devices as means to sell more insurance products, they are doing so at the expense of public safety and putting their customers in danger,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
Schneiderman sent letters to the major carriers stating his office will be looking into the reason the carriers jointly blocked the software from going on Samsung devices, and whether or not it had anything to do with their joint use of phone insurance provider Asurion.
Carriers responded with numerous reasons for not implementing the software, including time to review the product and the need for any disable option to be free before they would consider installing it.
Absolute Software has already offered the kill-switch option for free, but will also erase personal data or track the phone for the flat annual fee.
Apple already offers its own proprietary tech for recovering or disabling stolen iPhones with the “Find My iPhone” app and the Activation Lock unveiled last year.