U.S. Gov Wants to Track Pre-Paid Phones
May 26, 2010, 12:32 PM by Eric M. Zeman
A new bill unveiled by U.S. lawmakers today takes aim at the anonymity of pre-paid cell phones. The bill would require buyers of pre-paid cell phones to show proof of identity when purchasing new phones, and the service provider would be required to retain that information so phone users can be identified more easily. Pre-paid cell phones can often be purchased with cash and without a credit check. New York Senator Chuck Schumer said, "This proposal is overdue because for years terrorists, drug kingpins and gang members have stayed one step ahead of the law by using prepaid phones that are hard to trace." Schumer pointed out that the alleged Times Square bomb plotter, Faisal Shahzad, used a pre-paid cell phone, meaning his identity could not be discovered through cell phones records as it is with post-paid users. Senator John Cornyn added, "While most Americans use pre-paid mobile devices lawfully, the anonymous nature of these devices gives too much cover to individuals looking to use them for deviant, dangerous means." The bill needs to be ratified by congress before it could become law.
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