Samsung officials told the San Francisco district attorney's office in July that carriers were resisting kill switches, and prosecutors have recently reviewed emails between a senior vice president at Samsung and a software developer about the issue. One email in August said Samsung had pre-installed kill switch software in some smartphones ready for shipment, but carriers ordered its removal as a standard feature.
"These emails suggest that the carriers are rejecting a technological solution so they can continue to shake down their customers for billions of dollars in (theft) insurance premiums," Gascon said. "I'm incensed. ... This is a solution that has the potential to end the victimization of their customers."
Samsung said it is cooperating with Gascon, Schneiderman and the carriers on an anti-theft solution but declined to comment specifically about the emails.
"We are working with the leaders of the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative to incorporate the perspective of law enforcement agencies," said Samsung spokeswoman Jessica Redman. "We will continue to work with them and our wireless carrier partners toward our common goal of stopping smartphone theft."
Although the popular Samsung Galaxy smartphones are shipped across the country without LoJack as a standard feature, users can pay a subscription fee for the service.