House Representative Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) has put forward a bill that would require retailers to ask for identification from anyone buying a prepaid cellphone or a SIM card.
The bill, called Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act of 2016, is designed to “close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery,” according to Speier. Of course, it also closes one more opportunity for battered wives, privacy advocates, and others to remain anonymous. It also would appear to have no effect on any of the several services that offer secure and private second phone numbers for cell phones (see my earlier articles at https://privacyblog.com/2015/10/09/burner-receives-updates-with-plugins-and-premium-numbers and at https://privacyblog.com/2015/09/06/disposable-phone-numbers-for-maximum-privacy and https://privacyblog.com/2015/05/26/easily-create-disposable-phone-numbers-and-email-addresses for examples of such products. In other words, if passed, the bill won’t reduce crime but will make it more difficult for honest citizens to have any privacy.
The bill will require anyone purchasing a “pre-paid mobile device or SIM card” to provide:
- The full name of the purchaser.
- The complete home address of the purchaser.
- The date of birth of the purchaser.
You can read more in an article by Andrew Liptak in the Gizmodo web site at http://gizmodo.com/house-lawmaker-want-to-require-personal-information-to-1767368371 while the full text of the proposed bill is available at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr4886/text/ih.