certain companies will only sell you one or two prepaid phones at a time. It’s company policy, but a few retailers are trying to pass it off as law, which it is not. For now. Senator John Carona from Texas has proposed, among many other restrictions, a purchase limit of three prepaid cell phones at a time. This is in response to gangs and drug dealers who use prepaid phones as a means of business.
“Prepaids are popular with criminals because they are cheap, accessible, untraceable and discardable,” said Carona, R-Dallas, during a news conference at Dallas police headquarters.Beyond the purchase limit, Crona’s proposal includes the presentation of a state-issued ID for purchase, and would force retailers to track who is buying them. However, many companies already do hand over records to law enforcement. Jayne Wallace, spokeswoman for Virgin Mobile, says that they hand over records “in response to subpoenas and court orders.” Well, you don’t have much of a choice in that case, do you, Jayne?
“Many law-abiding mobile phone users value their privacy and prefer not to provide personally identifiable information, including their name and address,” Wallace said.I think that’s what’s going to hold this up a bit. Yes, there is an issue with criminals using prepaid. But there are plenty of other prepaid users who value their privacy. Even further, some users of prepaid rely on the service, lest they wouldn’t have wireless access at all.
Wallace said that a requirement to collect customer data “would increase the cost of service to consumers and likely decrease access of many less affluent consumers to a service that is important for personal, economic and security purposes.”I’m not quite sure why this would increase the cost of service. But if it’s somehow true, it’s another consideration to make before this bill gets some serious attention. [Houston Chronicle]]]>