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Proposed Law Would Require ID To Buy Prepaid Phones

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the stamps-too-because-of-ransom-notes dept.

Cellphones 615

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) have introduced legislation that would require buyers to present identification when purchasing a prepaid cellphone and require phone companies to keep the information on file, as they do with users of landline phones and subscription-based cellphones. '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,' says Schumer. Civil liberties advocates have concerns about the proposal, saying there must be a role for anonymous communications in a free society, adding that the space for such anonymous or pseudonymous communications has been narrowed since pay phones, for example, have largely disappeared."

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Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365784)

Totally Constitutional.

Re:Yep (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365970)

It will be justified under the 'interstate commerce' clause, the catch all used to justify everything from compelling Americans to buy health insurance to telling them that they can't set dried up bits of cannabis on fire and inhale the resulting smoke into their lungs. Any pretense of a limitation on Federal power died when SCOTUS said that the Federal Government has the power [wikipedia.org] to prevent you from growing food for your own consumption.

I'm rather pessimistic about our chances of reversing this trend, absent a constitutional convention and/or revolution, neither of which will happen because both would require Americans to stop watching TV long enough to realize how many rights they are losing.

Re:Yep (4, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366058)

I see a revolution or civil war happening long before a political solution would ever arise.

Re:Yep (3, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366102)

No mo' whistleblowers.

Re:Yep (1)

ADHVfFsvjLIViaglKlqo (1766800) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366206)

I'm hoping for nullification. If one of the larger states decided to, they could pretty much put a stop to all unconstitutional happenings within their borders. But I'm not optimistic, just hopeful. The end of our dollar will be mind-numbingly destructive, and as you suggested, nobody will understand why or how it happened, nor how to fix it.

Re:Yep (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366234)

I'm rather pessimistic about our chances of reversing this trend, absent a constitutional convention and/or revolution, neither of which will happen because both would require Americans to stop watching TV long enough to realize how many rights they are losing.

If they're content with it, then they are not losing anything; this is what they want.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366278)

while I'd be inclined to agree that the interstate commerce clause has been overextended in the past (and the present) I find it hard to rationalize interstate communication NOT being interstate commerce under any interpretation of the Constitution. Federal regulation of OTA communication dates back to about 1912 if memory serves, long before Wickard v Filburn.

Throw me a bone. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365786)

Throw me a bone, civil liberty advocates. Help me catch badguys without infringing on their liberties. Real suggestions welcome.

Re:Throw me a bone. (2, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365886)

I don't get it. are you saying you can't do it now??

Here's how you do it: it's called go through the court system as you should.

Re:Throw me a bone. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366188)

Hey idiot. RTFA. The law has to do with making it possible to find criminals so they can be brought to court. Kinda hard to use your brilliant suggestion when they can't be found in the first place. Thank you for making slashdot that much dumber.

Re:Throw me a bone. (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366272)

Uh, hello?

You don't trample over the rights of innocent citizens to catch the "bad guys". That is the example of bad law, such as the proposed law. This would neither a:make it easier to track people nor b:confirm the person registering is who they are. There is no way to enforce as such, as others have mentioned. Fake ID's, phones registered via proxies (such as other people), there are a million ways to get around this that take minimal to no effort.

Instead, you go through this thing which already exists, it's called the court/justice system. It's worked for hundreds of years, last I checked. Especially given that it's assuming this is for law enforcement or another legal entity which should be well versed in following the laws which govern them.

You know, you can track people via those warrant things already. It's called warrants for wiretaps or you can do the pen register thing, if I recall loopholes for that still exist. /what a newfangled idea! *facepalm*

Re:Throw me a bone. (1, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366274)

I'm surprised they've been allowing it for this long. I had to sign up to get a pre-paid phone ~6 years ago here in the UK. I thought it would be the same everywhere else, otherwise you could use them for very anonymous communication, perfect for criminal activity..

Re:Throw me a bone. (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366356)

If a drug kingpin is using cell phones exclusively to do his dealings, never touching product or dirty work, and tossing phones fast enough to render warrants useless... then what? What could the courts do for you exactly?

At least an ID can be flagged in the system that the court can say "when a person with this ID buys a disposable phone, your Warrant that the court has approved can be used to tap that disposable phone..."

Re:Throw me a bone. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365920)

Sorry, freedom and liberties do not come easily. You have to fight to get them, fight to keep them, and live in a dangerous world. If you want to be safe at night then vote for Stalin. Oh wait....

Re:Throw me a bone. (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366114)

Why does it always have to be a "fight"?... (I catch what you're saying; but a society apparently spawning the habit of presenting everything as a fight has another set of problems)

Re:Throw me a bone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366348)

The government aren't the only people I need safety from. Oh well, there's always gun ownership.

Re:Throw me a bone. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366000)

Terrorists, drug kingpins, gang members, and the like will just use fake or stolen ID's or middlemen to purchase their phones. It seems to me that such a law will result in law enforcement tracking down a lot of false leads.

Re:Terrorists, drug kingpins, etc. (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366132)

Terrorists, drug kingpins, gang members, and the like will just use fake or stolen ID's or middlemen to purchase their phones

I am none of those things and see no immediate reason why I would need to circumvent this law. Instead of circumventing it, I'd go to Craigslist.

Re:Throw me a bone. (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366144)

People made the same arguments against POS background checks for firearms but we still wound up with those....

Never underestimate the amount of liberty that people are willing to sacrifice in exchange for the illusion of security.

Re:Throw me a bone. (1, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366350)

With the weight of current cellphones, its hard to break anyone's head. A gun, on the other hand, can kill people right out of the store.

Different things bro.

Although i would oppose this law and the background checks, your analogy does not stand.

Re:Throw me a bone. (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366148)

Ok. This new "law" would simply create a new black market for thieves. Increasing their profit streams.

Now instead of a walmart tracphone. you buy a "clean" prepaid phone from vito that is registered to a 14 year old cheerleader in the hamptons.

Honestly, are out lawmakers simply a bunch of retarded old idiots? Did they not think of this?

Re:Throw me a bone. (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366306)

Ok. This new "law" would simply create a new black market for thieves. Increasing their profit streams.

Of course. Then the laws can become even MORE encroaching and overreaching in the name of stamping out whatever newly made illicit activity is.

Re:Throw me a bone. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366358)

I'm curious, how one manages to miss that its much easier to track small number of stolen but active accounts? (really, that's what it is about, not phones; plus its easy to block them after theft...)

Re:Throw me a bone. (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366160)

It's not infringing on their liberties that is the problem, it's infringing on my liberties that is. All it takes to infringe on their liberties is a warrant or a court order. In order to infringe on my liberties you better be amending the constitution because anonymous speech is the only way to have truly free speech.

Now what do I do? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365792)

Now, how am I supposed to make anonymous threats to people? Huh? How does that work? Some of us folks have RIGHTS! And you can't take those RIGHTS away just because we're unpopular.

Re:Now what do I do? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365954)

Well you seem to be practicing on Slashdot just fine. Maybe you can try making threats on here because people take online threats SO seriously...just like they do anonymous threats over the phone.... /end sarcasm

Fake ID? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365794)

I guess we couldn't use fake IDs to circumvent this, now could we?

Re:Fake ID? (2, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365928)

Or use a phone/SIM purchased outside the US or use a stolen phone, etc. They also might not care, I don't think the 9/11 hijackers cared if we ID'd them afterwords since they were already willing to die for their cause.

Signal strength: [Y__] (0, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366082)

Or use a phone/SIM purchased outside the US or use a stolen phone, etc.

If your SIM was purchased outside the United States, expect zero bars of signal.

Re:Signal strength: [Y__] (3, Insightful)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366264)

Expect equal or better signal while using a foreign SIM (because you get to choose a network,e.g. AT&T or T-mobile, instead of being tied to just one).

And expect to pay a lot for roaming.

Re:Signal strength: [Y__] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366304)

If your SIM was purchased outside the United States, expect zero bars of signal.

That's going to go over real well with the international business community. But I guess the US doesn't rely on them much anyway, right?

Re:Signal strength: [Y__] (1)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366346)

Not true. Just ask the many foreign exchange students and tourists who are using cell phones from their home countries in the US, with service plans from their home countries as well. They often get more bars than I do with my US cell phone. And they pay less than what my contract costs too.

include 'common-sense' returns false. (5, Insightful)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365806)

It seems to me that requiring the presentation of ID before purchasing something for the purpose of associating it with an identity for future use won't work as there's no way that you can guarantee the identity the person presents is genuine. All this law will do is encourage people to present fake identification when purchasing said goods, especially if they're going to use them for nefarious purposes.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (4, Interesting)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365862)

Yeah, but it might help the coppers catch the stupid criminals who don't have fake ids, or screw up and use their real one. Assuming they have a real one, of course.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (0, Troll)

bigspring (1791856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365866)

It's always fascinating to me that the political party that trumpets about about smaller government, deregulation, and individual freedoms is the same one that tends to introduce this kind crap.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365978)

Which party is that? The two sponsors represents both major parties.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366018)

You realize this legislation has support from no less a Democrat than Charles Schumer, right? You didn't even have to RTFA, it's right there in the summary.

When it comes to taking away our rights and expanding Government, Democrats and Republicans aren't really all that different. The only difference is which order you lose your rights in.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365904)

Criminals are stupid and will actually do things like present their real IDs. Prisons aren't full of masterminds, you know.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (5, Insightful)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366062)

So you're taking away the my freedom to have legal anonymous communication in order to catch only the stupid criminals?

Sounds like a bad trade-off to me.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (1)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366066)

True. The smart ones just didn't get caught.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (1)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366086)

Which is a good demonstration of why this probably won't do much good. These people who give their real IDs to buy cell phones to use for criminal purposes are unlikely to be able to organize anything as complicated as a coordinated attack without giving us some other more obvious and actionable clues. Clues that won't require making ever user of a currently anonymous (at least on the face of it) method of portable communication a suspect subject to a preemptive presumption of guilt.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365908)

All this law will do...

Is rake yet even more money through the business of government and set a precedent for the next expansion of power and revenue. They couldn't give a damn whether people obey or disobey the law, or whether the law "succeeds" or "fails" to achieve their stated goals; in fact, mass disobedience and failure is justification for even more power and revenue.

You're not in the business of government, are you?

You are incorrect Sir! (4, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366072)

What it will do is enable the government (for whatever hair-brained reasons) to track LAW ABIDING citizens. Criminals, those people bent on breaking the law, will simply buy the phones off-market or use falsified documentation.

Yet another brilliantly thought-out law which misses mark entirely. Maybe someday only criminals will have rights and everyone else will be guilty until proven innocent?

Re:You are incorrect Sir! (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366180)

It's more insidious than that. Who buys the prepaids? poor people.

So it's all about tracking the poor.

Re:You are incorrect Sir! (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366194)

Since government leaks information almost as quickly as it burns tax dollars, it will also enable criminals (for whatever evil reasons) to track LAW ABIDING citizens.

Re:include 'common-sense' returns false. (1)

tick_and_bash (1256006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366322)

Wouldn't at the picture vaguely resemble the person? It's at least a better start than the fuzzy picture they may have gotten from a security camera.

.. right ... (3, Funny)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365810)

"Um, hey, Fred, while you're at Best Buy, could you pick me up a throwaway phone? I'm going on vacation and don't want to
take my RAZR with me to jihad-camp"

Sigh. Security theatre is not secure.

Re:.. right ... (3, Insightful)

zegota (1105649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366012)

"Mr. Fred, we see you purchased a phone, and then three months later, used that phone to call in a bomb threat." "Oh, I bought that for my friend Steve." "All right, we'll check him out." This law has many problems, but that's not one of them.

Re:.. right ... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366190)

This law has many problems, but that's not one of them.

What happens when the criminals just steal the phone or pay someone to buy it for them?

Re:.. right ... (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366200)

Except that all Steve has to do is either claim Fred is lying or say his phone was lost or stolen. There is still no way to prove that either Fred or Steve actually used the phone to call in the bomb threat.

Re:.. right ... (3, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366250)

"Oh, I bought that for my friend Steve."

That's what they all say.

Re:.. right ... (3, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366258)

Are you kidding? Knowing who was using a phone after the fact is only one aspect of the story. They also want to know who to wiretap during criminal investigations. If Fred buys Al's cellphone with Fred's ID, then the feds won't know who's phone to tap. This law has many problems, and in a large portion of situations this is one of them.

Re:.. right ... (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366038)

Next they'll outlaw "straw purchases" of cell phones. Then they'll give the ATFE a new letter: ATFET has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? ;)

WHAT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365816)

There are civil liberties advocates in the US?

Re:WHAT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365998)

There are civil liberties in the US?

Re:WHAT?! (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366218)

There is civility in the US?

Burn Notice (5, Funny)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365828)

But what will Michael do in his crazy antics in Miami? He usually needs like 3 prepaid phones for every job. It will kill off one my favorite shows!

Re:Burn Notice (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366324)

He'll do what any good ... agent... would do. He'll find a buddy that works for a third party support call center, and convince him to provide phone accounts for as many phones as he needs.

The wire (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365832)

The wire called, they want their idea back.

Already being done in India and South Africa (5, Insightful)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365838)

This is already being done in India and South Africa (where prepaid phones are everywhere and contract phones are nearly non-existent) and it's retarded. I am American and I travel into and out of South Africa all the time and no-one wants to sell me a SIM card. You have to be able to prove residence in South Africa to get one and I live in Mozambique (and Botswana beforehand). Theft is RAMPANT in SA and people think having a name on file of who the phone's number is will stop anything? I have to find a South African who will buy me a SIM card any time I need to call from within SA.

India implemented this law before they had their terrorist attacks last year and it sure did a lot to prevent those eh?

Re:Already being done in India and South Africa (0, Troll)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366176)

India implemented this law before they had their terrorist attacks last year and it sure did a lot to prevent those eh?

It also won't stop GINGIVITIS!!!

Just saying, that's about as on topic as complaining it's worthless b/c it didn't stop armed assailants from scuba diving into the country and then opening fire in a hotel.

Next stop: WLAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365844)

With Skype or any other VoIP program, every open wireless LAN is a public telephone. Can't be long until making WLAN available without registering the users becomes illegal.

Privacy: Same Shit, Different Day (5, Funny)

Maarx (1794262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365892)

Clearly, the only people who would object to such legislation are criminals.

Those of us who aren't doing anything illegal would have absolutely no reason to fear the loss of anonymous communication.

Re:Privacy: Same Shit, Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365984)

sarcasm?

Re:Privacy: Same Shit, Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366108)

The first word in GP's title gives it away.

Re:Privacy: Same Shit, Different Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366130)

Or he doesn't understand that under fascism, everyone can be labeled a criminal.

Re:Privacy: Same Shit, Different Day (2, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366292)

Especially considering governments and law enforcement are never corrupt.

Both positive and negative sides with this (5, Insightful)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365898)

A few years back, you could buy prepaid phones in Norway without any ID, but then they made a law so that all prepaid cards had to be registered with social security number. It is now harder for most mindless criminals to call anonymously, so they use their own names and get caught easily. The more clever ones simply use other peoples social security numbers when they want anonymous (for them) prepaid numbers.
Because of the latter, I am concerned about the consequences. Maybe they should legalize drugs and get rid of the top reason why people would want a anonymous phone in the first place, but I can only dream.

Re:Both positive and negative sides with this (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366076)

Maybe they should legalize drugs and get rid of the top reason why people would want a anonymous phone in the first place, but I can only dream.

Why do you assume drugs are the "top reason" why one would want anonymous communications? What about a whistle blower? What about a witness to a crime?

Re:Both positive and negative sides with this (1)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366286)

If you say anonymous communications, I agree that drugs would not be the top reason. This is anonymous prepaid cellphones we are talking about, and I was referring to the situation in my own country, where neither being a witness to a crime nor a wistleblower would require a anonymous prepaid phone card. Perhaps thats what you get in a country that is percieved as very little corrupt, with a government that is (for now) considered friendly at most levels.

Failed in Mexico already (5, Informative)

Mex (191941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365922)

This law was passed in Mexico a few months ago. It's basically a failure because of all the fake IDs out there. There's very little preventing you from registering it to someone else's name too.

To send a message to the president Felipe Calderon, a lot of people registered using his personal data.

A few days ago, one of the phone companies admitted they had at least 12,000 cell phones registered to the president's name...

Re:Failed in Mexico already (3, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366040)

all the fake IDs out there

I prefer to think of them a "free enterprise IDs" - the best kind, really....

Re:Failed in Mexico already (2, Funny)

MediaCastleX (1799990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366314)

Wouldn't that actually prove that all this is going on with El Presidente's consent? He's buying the phones, they work for him! Honestly, the man has the largest network...wow! The richest man in the world is Mexican and runs a wireless company...coincidence? Texas better watch out!

This just adds inconvenience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365938)

People who want to remain anonymous will buy black-market phones (the market will definitely be there) or just steal one.

Already fact in Europe (1)

einar2 (784078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365952)

Most countries in Europe already do this.
Switzerland was one of the last and bent to the pressure as well.

And yet... (3, Interesting)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365980)

The police seem perfectly able to hunt down the owner of a prepaid cellphone when it contains child porn on it [gizmodo.com] . How can they manage that yet not hunt down terrorists the same way?

Re:And yet... (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366116)

How can they manage that yet not hunt down terrorists the same way?

They do but they just don't like to talk about it. Bin Laden has a firm ban on anyone having a phone or radio anywhere near him because the US has resources to pinpoint the location and order a missile strike.

You've got a good idea there (1)

Yergle143 (848772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366318)

Maybe we should look for the only cell phone hole left on this whole green earth? Well he sure isn't hiding in this Starbucks!

Re:And yet... (1)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366172)

Maybe the terrorists paid cash so they can't be traced by their credit cards?

Re:And yet... (1)

Ocyris (1742966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366330)

Because it's not about catching crooks, it's about maintain an image of potency. I can also see this being used as a stepping stone to a revival of REALID to "curb fake IDs" and "protect us from terrorists" all while doing neither.

New York and Texas Teaming Up? (4, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366014)

Of course it would take a piece of legislation that completely tramples anonymous communication to convince two congressmen from two very different states to put aside partisan politics and play ball together. Why is it that the politicos can only team up on things that screw the citizens, but not the ones that help the citizens? Fucking assholes.

Stupid! (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366044)

This will likely make enforcement harder by forceing criminals to move to encrypted VOIP.

Re:Stupid! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366298)

Encryption only protects the content of the communication, not the fact that the communication occurred, which in itself is possible usable evidence.

Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366050)

I think criminals also use automobiles, hair gel and eat fast food. All of these items should monitored and government controlled so those in power can stay in ... I mean to protect us.

Mark these words, it won't be long before math books and Bibles are forbidden. Only the naive believe privacy = illegality.

Hypocracy and Shame (1)

tlongshore (1775768) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366064)

Once again a Republican, this one from my state unforunately, will try to take away civil liberties for "protecting the public". They (R's) claim to be for less government, but they are seriously are wolves in sheep's clothing. I do not mind more government honestly, I just dont like hypocracy. I did not vote for him during the last election, I am sad to say he is my senator. Cornyn has a horrible history of bad voting choices. I know I need references, but im lazy.

Re:Hypocracy and Shame (1)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366326)

You did see that Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is in on this as well, right?

Very problematic, not very useful (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366096)

What about those of us who already have prepaid phones bought with cash? It's one of the things I like about Boost Mobile; they can't track me.

You don't need a phone to buy an SUV, only money. What's next, they're going to outlaw cash?

The "drug kingpins" part made me laugh; it isn't the kingpins, it's the neighborhood dealers. And this won't stop anybody, dope dealers routinely "rent" other people's cars to make deliveries, they'll simply trade drugs for an AT&T iPhone. Hell, they're doing it already.

What did law enforcement do before telephones were invented?

And this stupid law will actually hurt law enforcement -- now, they have people anonymously make tips (narc on people) to make arrests. Without untraceable communications, folks are going to be less likely to tip someone off, especially here in Illinois where cops and politicians are notoriously crooked. Nobody in his right mind would narc using a traceable form of communication; that could turn out to be fatal. A whole lot of cops are on the dope dealers' payrolls.

Like the drug laws themselves, this will cause the very problems it purports to solve.

unintended consequences (1)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366104)

This will just make phones greater targets for thieves, as they'll be much more valuable on the black market. Oh yeah, and not to mention cloning will pick up again. Gee thanks.

Carriers Require an ID anyways (1)

Maarek (213279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366122)

All carriers require an ID to obtain a prepaid. The system will not allow the person to put anything in... well unless they were bribed to do that so the number would be untraceable. The result would be a legal address to the someone that actually didn't live there. Other then that carriers like AT&T & Verizon Wireless require the person's information before they can activate the account.

One problem with this law. The phone numbers will be outdated even the IMEI number. Customers can switch numbers and phones faster then a cop can trace them. Especially GSM phones, since the IMEI (traced ID number) can be switched to a new phone just be switching the SIM card.

Or just activate another SIM card. It's that easy ($10) for a SIM card. All it takes is someone greedy at the cell phone store to accept the changes without letting anyone else know.

orly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366178)

there must be a role for anonymous communications in a free society

why?

You mean THESE drug kingpins? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366182)

"In my 30-year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA." - Dennis Dayle, former chief of an elite DEA enforcement unit, from Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America

"I have put thousands of Americans away for tens of thousands of years for less evidence for conspiracy with less evidence than is available against Ollie North and CIA people... I personally was involved in a deep-cover case that went to the top of the drug world in three countries. The CIA killed it." - Former DEA Agent Michael Levine, CNBC-TV, October 8, 1996

"Over the past twenty years, the CIA has moved from local transport of raw opium in the remote mountains of Laos to apparent complicity in the bulk transport of pure cocaine directly into the United States... America's drug epidemics have been fueled by narcotics supplied from areas of major CIA operations, while periods of reduced heroin use coincide with the absence of CIA activity." - Alfred McCoy, author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade

"If the [opium] trade is ever legalized, it will cease to be profitable from that time. The more difficulties that attend it, the better for you and us." - Directors of Jardine-Matheson, multinational corporation, incorporated in Bermuda and based in Hong Kong

The Premise is False (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366198)

You do NOT need to give the phone company an ID for a landline.
Last time I had a landline, all they needed was a cash deposit of around $100.
I gave them a completely bogus name because I didn't want to pay extra to have my name removed from the phonebook (nor did I want to be on the list of people who have paid to keep their name out of the phone book either).

Same in Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366220)

Here in Mexico we have a law to require us to register our cell phone number, but nearly 30% of people don't register their numbers, and with the actual levels of corruption in our goverment is cuestion of time for the organized crime to get these information and start to blackmail us more easy, actually they just call and ask for $50 to hundreds, and if we don't cooperate they will kill some familiar like our kids. The goverment say that this measure is for help trace the organized crime, but forgot some key points in their plan, like requiere cellphone companies to connect the cellphones to three cells to triangulate the signal. I hope US review this more deeply that our authorities in Mexico and avoid our mistakes.

Part of the reason I hate cell phones. Worthless. (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366244)

Japan does something like this too. The last time I went there I found out my prepaid didn't work and I was trying to get in touch with my most family but I was running out of coins. Something like 50 cents to 75 cents a minute on a pay phone. Since I have an artificial leg, I didn't appreciate the running around it made me do after a a ridiculously long flight from New York. The other reason I had it is because they worry about me if I ever get in a bind. But there was no way for me to get a new one until I met up with them because I can't get a cell phone personally because I don't own an apartment or anything.

Thank you government for not allowing me to get a prepaid right when I needed it and the original reason I got one to begin with. Thank you cell phone companies for phasing out 2G while I was out of Japan for a year and a half so I couldn't get any messages. Sometimes it just feels like people are shitting on you.

Why are paragraph tags now not working on slashdot?

God forbid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366246)

The USA not to be able to track everyone single person in the USA and all their conversations....

Oh right. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366248)

Sure, I'm sure this is about security. If the feds can tap all phones and use the gps in them. Who care's who's calling when you can listen to them and know exactly where they are?

Methinks this is a proposal from the bells for additional revenue stream.

but... (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366296)

...will the registration data be shared with Facebook?

Doesn't Cogress have better things to discuss? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366308)

Shouldn't we be more worried how to make it harder for executives of large oil companies to totally fuck-up an entire ecosystem!? Better yet shouldn't we be making it harder for executives of large finical institutions to fuck over the wold economy? I'd even settle on a discussion about removing liability caps for companies that take shortcuts? Why are we waisting time & money on this? If I were in TX or NY I'd vote these guys out!

----
Tell congress release the names of the wall street execs, and leave finical reform to the mob!

welcome to the rest of the world... (1)

medea (38161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366352)

very interesting. while the usa is probably the most surveilled western country this is not beeing standard already? this is standard here in switzerland since years...

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