Congressmen Propose Pre-Paid Phone Registration to Prevent Terrorism
Pre-paid phones have a lot of advantages, especially for those who don't have enough money for a phone contract. But they also have another benefit, anonymity, that can benefit criminals and terrorists. That's why two congressmen have proposed legislation that will require pre-paid phone users to register before purchase.
Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and John Cornyn of Texas announced their proposed legislation Wednesday, mostly in response to reports that the Times Square bomber used one to prepare and coordinate his attack.
"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. It would be foolish to stand idly by while the risk remains that another terrorist or criminal could purchase a pre-paid phone leaving no paper trail," Cornyn said in a statement.
Pre-paid cell phones usually aren't registered under a particular name, so phone companies don't know who is using the phone. This provides an obvious advantage for criminals and terrorists. The new legislation would require pre-paid phone buyers to show identification and phone companies to keep a record of their information so that individual phones can be tracked to the owner.
There are a many countries that already have laws similar to this one, including Australia, Japan, South Africa, Germany and Switzerland. Sever U.S. states have already proposed this kind of legislation too, however, this particular bit of legislation would make pre-paid phone registration a nationwide requirement.