Blowing Up The Burners: New Bill To Make Anonymous Cell Phones Illegal?

Chances are, as a modern human being, you own at least one cell phone that you guard with a vigilance that many bodyguards would envy.  It's as important as your wallet or keys, and maybe more so due to its irreplaceability.  But what about the cell phones that are used specifically for their disposable nature?  Should they be illegal just because sometimes you have business to handle that you don't want interacting with the rest of your real life?

Burner phones:  will they be burned at the legal stake for their perceived sins?
(Image courtesy survivethewild.net.)

We live in a time of ultimate cultural disposability, and our technological toys are no different.  For every closely-held smartphone, there are a hundred cheap cell phones that do a lesser but similar bidding, and like anything, not all of a scrupulous nature.  "Burners" have been seen in books, movies, and television as a means for the nefarious to communicate anonymously, but what about their use by average people as a cheap and efficient means of simply saying hello, sans all the bells and whistles?

Apparently in police-state logic, it may better to ban them and ruin things for everyone than deal with the actual problem at any other source.  According to the Independent UK, these phones may soon be illegal in the US without formal registration.  California congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced a bill that would require proving your identity before being able to obtain a prepaid phone or SIM card.

Their indestructability also makes them ideal for the criminal lifestyle.
Or, you know, just human usefulness.
(Image courtesy cheapist.com.)

“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,” Ms. Speier told Facebook.

Since America's rampant data collection and particularly obtrusive phone-decryption efforts are apparently not enough to combat these societal ills, outright surveillance on everyone who ever wants a phone must be the new way to go.  Never mind that a tablet or laptop can easily make anonymous calls on the internet, Speier thinks banning burner phones will stop the terrorists from burning us up.


And what will this ridiculously Luddite-like bill do to the Burner phone apps?
Sorry, society, private calls are still going to try to stay private.
(Image courtesy learningadvancedenglish.blogspot.com.)

What does it say about our society that we can't stop the drug trade, so we'll try to crack down on communications?  What does it imply when we'll let terrorists get within usable distances of our cell towers, but we think we can only catch them by monitoring the most rudimentary of devices?  Is control slipping, or is this the next logical progression of society-wide surveillance, like ubiquitous cameras or routinely-insecure email?  

Or, most terribly likely, is it both?


Treat yourself to some turn-of-the-century tech for your apocalypse bag,
just in case.
(Image courtesy www.teotwawki-blog.com.)

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