Congress Wants Prepaid Phone Buyers to Provide ID

Posted by at 11:02 am on March 28, 2016


A new bill introduced to Congress would require everyone who buys a prepaid phone or SIM card to provide identification, including name, address, and date of birth. The “Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act of 2016”, or H.R. 4486, aims to reduce the use of “burner” or anonymous phones sometimes used by criminals and terrorists.

As written, consumers will have to identify themselves at the point of purchase. Moreover, retailers will have to verify ID credentials before permitting a sale, as well as maintain a record of the sale, including the sale date, phone maker and model, service provider, phone number, IMEI, serial number, and other phone details.

The bill was introduced by California Representative Jackie Speier. The idea is to reduce ways for people to use untraceable cell phones in the pursuit of illegal activities.

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