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Science & Technology News

Last Update on April 16, 2014 07:12 GMT

IN THE NEWS: CELLPHONE KILL SWITCH

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A trade group for wireless providers says the country's biggest smartphone makers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the devices to try to deter rampant theft.

CTIA-The Wireless Association announced Tuesday that under a "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment," the providers agree to install a free preloaded or downloadable anti-theft tool on smartphones sold in the U.S. after July 2015.

The wireless industry has said putting a permanent "kill switch" on phones has serious risks, including potential vulnerability to hackers.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have demanded that the wireless industry create kill switches. They say CTIA's plan still falls short of effectively ending smartphone theft because the measures will rely on consumers to seek out and turn on the technology.

IN THE NEWS: DISH DEAL

SEATTLE (AP) -- The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Dish general counsel Stanton Dodge said Tuesday that the surcharge was not deceptive or illegal. He says it was imposed after Washington increased a business tax.

Dodge says the company decided to settle with the state to avoid a court fight.

Under the agreement, the Colorado-based company will also give existing customers cash credits or free programming and pay the state nearly $570,000.

Dish charged its Washington customers a dollar fee between May and December 2012.

The attorney general says the company didn't accurately advertise the total cost of TV packages because it listed the surcharge separately.

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