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Should You Have To Register a Prepaid Cell Phone?

Should You Have to Show ID to Purchase a Prepaid Cell Phone?

A new proposal in Washington would require customers to show a form of ID before purchasing a prepaid cell phone. The bill is aimed at stopping terror suspects like the one in the recent Times Square bombing plot (or, you know, every suspect ever on Law & Order). If passed, the law would also require companies to keep the information on file for 18 months after deactivation, similar to traditional contract-based calling plans.

On one hand, I support the measure if it's an issue of safety, on the other, isn't this why prepaid phones exist? For anonymity? Civil liberties advocates agree, saying that there needs to be a place in society for anonymous forms of communication. What do you think?

Join The Conversation
LKopel LKopel 7 years
Absolutely NOT! We are already over tracked in this society. If they didn't use a prepaid phone, it would be Skype or some other VOIP. I have prepaid phones and I use a Google Voice number. Yes, I am still leaving a trail, but I control the trail of my information. I can purge that prepaid cell from my GV profile if I choose. And, it's how I choose to spend my money - many people look down on prepaid phone users. I simply choose to spend my money wisely for my situation. I am not a criminal for using a prepaid phone and I shouldn't have to disclose anything just because I don't want a 2 year contract and hefty monthly bills and want to pay cash!
hex913 hex913 7 years
I have known several people who've had their bank card numbers stolen (including myself), and every time the criminal was purchasing one of these pre-paid phones. If they'd have had to show ID, they couldn't have gotten away with it.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
I'm torn on this one, I can see the need to know who purchased a phone; on the other hand I don't think anyone's civil liberties should be taken away from them, including the right to privacy if one chooses.
megank1991 megank1991 7 years
People think that far too many things are "rights". You don't have a right to have a cell phone, it's a privilege based on if you can afford to own one or not. People who want to be anonymous almost always want to be because they seek to do harm.
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