It is for this very reason why a lawmaker from California is pushing for a new legislation to be passed. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA, 14th), representing the district of San Francisco and the Bay Area, has introduced the new legislation early this week. The draft bill has been entitled Closing the Prepaid Mobile Device Security Gap Act of 2016 (or HR 4886).
Once the legislation passes, prepaid phone retailers would be required to collect information from their customers during purchase. Such information include their name, address and date of birth.
Just like on a long-term phone contract, the provided information would then be verified using a credit card, a driving license number, or a Social Security number.
The main purpose of the bill would be to crack down on prepaid phones believed to be used by terrorists and other individuals in their criminal activity. Currently prepaid phones may be purchased without any record-keeping requirements or identification, making it easy for terrorists and criminals to gain access to a mobile device easily. With the approval of the legislation, the representative believes that it would pave way for authorities to track and prevent crimes such as modern-day slavery, drug trafficking, and even acts of terror.
Speier's bill comes as the best line of defense against the growing terror threats throughout Europe, wherein the terrorists involved have been said to use burner phones to carry out their vicious attacks. In last year's attacks in Paris, burner phones were said to have been bought in bulk and disposed of every time a communication was made. And by being able to use a different phone number and device, terrorists can easily evade the metadata collection programs used by even the most advanced intelligence agencies.
The bill has since been referred to the Judiciary committees and the House Energy and Commerce for review. While many seem to be conscious about the idea behind the bill, there are others who are rooting for it. The full text of the bill has not yet been released publicly so there isn't much to know about what the bill would entail. But if it were up to you, would you be in favor of this bill?