'Burner' phones could be made illegal under US law that would require personal details of anyone buying a new handset

The bill would ‘close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery,’ said Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who proposed the bill

Burner phones might be about to be banned in the US.

A Congresswoman has proposed that everyone buying a phone in the country would have to register with personal ID, to stop criminal activities being planned with handsets that can be bought anonymously and then thrown away.

Forcing shops to require customers to give over identification when buying cheap phones or pre-paid SIMs could be one of the most important ways that terrorists are able to communicate, according to California Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who proposed the bill.

“This bill would close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery,” wrote Ms Speier in a Facebook post announcing the bill.

“The "burner phone" loophole is an egregious gap in our legal framework that allows actors like the 9/11 hijackers and the Times Square bomber to evade law enforcement while they plot to take innocent lives. The Paris attackers also used ‘burner phones.’

“As we’ve seen so vividly over the past few days, we cannot afford to take these kinds of risks. It’s time to close this "burner phone" loophole for good.

Much of the discussion about disabling terrorists’ communication methods has revolved around encryption, and whether or not companies should make it easier to hack into their phones so that criminals’ messages can be read. But at least in the case of the Paris attacks, the plotters used burner phones instead – hiding their communications by never attaching their own names to them.

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