'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

Andrew Griffin
Sunday 27 March 2016 16:10
Comments

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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in