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Cell Phone SIM Cards Lead To Terrorists' Trail 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the ease-of-communication dept.
Cliff Stoll writes "The Times of India reports that cell phone SIM cards used by the terrorists in Mumbai were purchased in Kolkata (Calcutta), using fraudulent papers. The papers belonged to the dead uncle of a 26-year-old man living in Kolkata; he is suspected of being a collaborator of the terrorists. The paper states that this highlights 'the continued vulnerabilities in the system which have repeatedly been exploited by the terrorists and their collaborators to obtain cell phone connections. "We've booked them for cheating and forgery as they produced fake documents to get the SIMs. We've also slapped conspiracy charges against them for they had an ulterior motive. The arrests will throw light on the Mumbai terror module," Kolkata police's Jawed Shamim said.'"
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Cell Phone SIM Cards Lead To Terrorists' Trail

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  • Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @11:37AM (#26020627) Homepage Journal

    Just require DNA to purchase, and use, a phone. We don't need that pesky free-speech and privacy do we?

    One of the costs of liberties is that some will abuse them. The answer is not to take them away from the rest. ( but its what the government wants to do, and garbage like this just helps them snow the populace into thinking its for 'their own good'.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ErkDemon (1202789)
      Ban the telephone!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wrath0fb0b (302444)

      Since you need an individualized warrant from a Federal court to wiretap an American citizen inside the US, (yes, even with the new FISA, IIAL and I have actually read the statute), I don't see how registering the SIM to an identity has anything to do with privacy or free speech. Unless it's your position that (1) citizens do not have to submit to the lawful surveillance under the terms approved by Congress and monitored by a court of competent jurisdiction, (2) the courts are not effecting Congress' intent

      • "Since you need an individualized warrant from a Federal court to wiretap an American citizen inside the US..."

        This only matters if there is somebody willing to stand up and actually prosecute the statue when it happens without a warrant. And particularly with the new law, I believe if you make a long distance call outside the US, the federal gov't begin a wiretap on your phone if an agent believes that call was to somebody with a relationship to a terrorist (not necessarily living there, or banging the oc

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Wrath0fb0b (302444)

          You are factually incorrect as to what the law requires (leaving aside for the moment the question of whether the law is being properly enforced).

          As a US citizen, they cannot tap your phone without warrant. They can, however, tap the phone line of a suspect outside the US so that if you call that "tagged" line, they can listen in. That doesn't make you tapped because your next call to Joe's Pizza cannot be intercepted. Basically, they can monitor the phone line of the foreign person and gather your phone to

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      I club you over the head, get your biometric data, use phone. Leave you unconscious at the scene. Being the low hanging fruit you get hanged for your crimes.

      • Surely having records of being in the hospital unconscious while the act of terrorism takes place will never be considered an airtight alibi. Also, why wouldn't you fill out a police report while there, detailing your loss?

        • by fractoid (1076465)
          Well, if DNA proof positive of non-paternity [ancpr.org] isn't enough to get you out of paying child support, I wouldn't be at all confident that mere medical records could exonerate you from terrerisum. If you claim otherwise then you're obviously supporting terrerisum, you dirty terrerest.
        • by mrmeval (662166)

          I drag you with me to the crime in the trunk. You'll just 'be that crazy dirty dood that did the dirty deed' and then 'fall down and bump head'. It will be told with a straight face by UGH the Police Cretin and lapped up by the ERG the Media Cretin.

          You do realize who died recently whose husband was railroaded by the cops yes?

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @11:39AM (#26020645) Homepage Journal
    Don't get me wrong. I like it when they can catch the "bad guys". And I know this story involves countries OTHER than the US.

    But, I've been looking around here for a new cell phone, and yes..I'm eyeballing the iPhone. But, one thing I recently found out is, AT&T is requiring you give them your damned SSN to get one activated?!?! What the hell is this?

    I know they're wanting to do a credit check...but, in lieu of that why can't I just give them a deposit? I've been with Sprint since I got a cell phone back in about 2000 or so. I did the deposit thing with them, and no problem. A year or so they sent it back.

    But, from what I can tell...they don't want to do that for the iPHone. I've been searching and some site seem to say (and this sounds like old info about activating at home) to put in 999-99-9999 or 141-11-1111 (supposedly an internal ATT code) for the ssn when registering..and it will set you up for some "Pay as you go" type plan.

    I'm still looking into all this....but, really, if you put down a deposit, and pay the bill, why they hell do they even need to know much more than minimal information about a person? Just to track you in case you do something bad?

    • by v1 (525388) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @11:48AM (#26020751) Homepage Journal

      I recently found out is, AT&T is requiring you give them your damned SSN to get one activated

      I shall now go checking on this, but for now I'm going to say "no".

      Several years back my grandmother was with us shopping and the dept store offered her a credit card for the store. She wanted one and filled out the paperwork. It got to the spot where you had to fill in your SSN.

      "I don't want to give you that. You can't demand that."

      She grew up in the era where your SSN was ubber-top-secret and you were actually publicly educated to never give it out. She knew the rules.

      They argued for a good 10 min and finally got on the phone calling around. The store clerks realized she was probably right, but everything they had been told was to the contrary.

      Finally after 25 minutes of phonecalls and I don't know how far up the chain they had to go, they ran into someone that knew the law. "she's right, we cannot demand her SSN as a condition for getting the card." (you cannot simply say "well it's your right not to give out your SSN but if you don't, we won't give you this card") She was issued an alternate unique identification number. From what I saw, this was an extremely unusual case for someone to call them on this, so very few people know their rights here.

      I remember my SSN used to be on my driver's license. Now that's a different unique number also. Heck, two months ago I was at the dentist and they wanted my SSN. I said I don't want to give it to you. She said well look on your dental card I bet that's your number. by god she was right. That got changed a week later following a phonecall from me to my insurance company.

      It's amazing how many places you will see people wanting your SSN, and if you're sucker enough to give it to them, they're doing really stupid things with it.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        in todays world your SSN is what your financial history is tied to, and it's not 1940 anymore alice...

        not saying it's a good thing but it is what it is.

      • I'd like to know who that store was. Anyway, I can guarantee that you couldn't do that today.

        Anyway you cannot and you can argue until you're blue in the face, get any sort of:

        1. Utility service
        2. Cell service
        3. credit card
        4. loan
        5. Government job
        6. Any other job
        7. just file an application for a job.

        without giving your SSN. (Home Depot requires one to even apply for a job - online. WTF?!) They will just refuse to do business with you which is their right. I am really paranoid about giving my SSN and I have refused to do busi

      • by Phizzle (1109923)
        "They" already have your SSN... This whole illusion that your privacy is protected because you withold your SSN is naive. All of these institutions already have access to your SSN and all of your financial information, only reason they want it is because it holds just a little more weight than your signature for the purpose of fraud verification. As far as your privacy, its been screwed into the ground from the day you were born, you have been cataloged, assessed, verified and filed by the spooks and the co
      • by MrEkitten (902303) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @01:55PM (#26021855)
        Since I work for AT&T, I'll let you in on a secret. If you are willing to pay a $500 deposit, you do not need a SSN. There are many people who are foreign exchange students, VISA workers, and others who are able to use AT&T service with no SSN. I will admit that we try really hard to use one for credit checks and the such, but it is NOT required for those who persist. If you do not give one, a $500 deposit per line IS required. This would have to be paid upfront, before the activation of the line.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mi (197448)

          There are many people who are foreign exchange students, VISA workers, and others who are able to use AT&T service with no SSN.

          At least one of the SIM-cards used by Mumbai terrorists was purchased in the US (New Jersey [mypetjawa.mu.nu])...

          No, I'm not saying, it should be necessary to submit everything to a cell-phone provider — that's how things are in less free countries like India or Australia. But it is still interesting...

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Since I work for AT&T, I'll let you in on a secret. If you are willing to pay a $500 deposit, you do not need a SSN. There are many people who are foreign exchange students, VISA workers, and others who are able to use AT&T service with no SSN. I will admit that we try really hard to use one for credit checks and the such, but it is NOT required for those who persist. If you do not give one, a $500 deposit per line IS required. This would have to be paid upfront, before the activation of the line."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mi (197448)

        Finally after 25 minutes of phonecalls and I don't know how far up the chain they had to go, they ran into someone that knew the law. "she's right, we cannot demand her SSN as a condition for getting the card." (you cannot simply say "well it's your right not to give out your SSN but if you don't, we won't give you this card") She was issued an alternate unique identification number.

        This is very interesting... I once responded with a "Yes" to a bank's (Capital One) offer of a credit card for my business (no

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by v1 (525388)

          I made a followup post [slashdot.org] after doing some additional digging and making some calls. The SSA webpage itself has some contradictions here, in one place implying that unless there's a law for it, they can't require it. Then in another place they say there may be "consequences" if you deny it. So I have contacted them for clarification.

          Though it does seem for all the instances where someone beat around the bush awhile they always found an exception, and I can't imagine companies going to the trouble on such a

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "It's amazing how many places you will see people wanting your SSN, and if you're sucker enough to give it to them, they're doing really stupid things with it."

        I'm much the same way and do not give it out unless it is used for SSN taxation. I did, recently relent..when I recently moved. I had to give it to get water turned on. They explained to me, that their system was so old, it used SSN (basically for a primary key, which is not a good idea)...and they could actually not put me in the system without it

        • by v1 (525388)

          every encounter I've had with this also uses it as a unique identifier as their excuse, but all of them have had provisions for making an identifier themselves. I bet if you would have fought this a bit you could have won.

      • (you cannot simply say "well it's your right not to give out your SSN but if you don't, we won't give you this card")

        This is simply false. No one is required to extend you credit.

        FWIW, I Am A Landlord, and I require an SSN (credit check) to rent an apartment. You don't want to give it? Fine, you are rejected. Have a nice day.

    • by Jens Egon (947467)

      Don't get me wrong. I like it when they can catch the "bad guys". And I know this story involves countries OTHER than the US.

      But, I've been looking around here for a new cell phone, and yes..I'm eyeballing the iPhone. But, one thing I recently found out is, AT&T is requiring you give them your damned SSN to get one activated?!?! What the hell is this?

      When I first heard this story I thought that those guys might simply be reselling phones.

      If buying a phone in a store becomes too difficult or fraught with unknown (legal) dangers, a black market will appear.

      Even if this is not generally the case in India today. (Is it? I certainly wouldn't know.) Sooner or later restrictive legislation will drive a black market.

    • by mangu (126918)

      one thing I recently found out is, AT&T is requiring you give them your damned SSN to get one activated?!?! What the hell is this?

      The SSN is a practical primary key for identifying people, that's all. The big problem in using the SSN is that some federal agencies assume that anyone who calls them with an SSN number and the corresponding name is in fact that person.

      If the SSN weren't used in this way, I would have no objection in giving it to anyone who asked. After all, my car license is in plain view f

      • Agreed (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheLink (130905)
        I agree. I don't see anything wrong with everyone being given a unique number.

        It's very wrong to assume that if someone can spit out that number and name, they're that person.

        The trouble is what is the alternative? A password? Someone will start recording/stealing the passwords and you have a similar problem.
        • It needs to be based on public/private key cryptography. They should send you a random challenge and you should sign it and send back the result.

          Actualy I've got a bank account in Sweden. They hand out hardtokens. When you bank online they tell you two four digit numbers which they generate at random. You enter a pin code, which only you know, into the hard token and then the 2 numbers. It signs them and gives you a six digit result which you tell them. Essentially the bank knows your public key and the pri

          • by cdrguru (88047)

            It is that last point about lost tokens that is the real deterrent to wide implementation in the US. Some huge number of police calls are because of lost car keys, so you can imagine what the result would be.

            In Arizona it appears anyone can get a replacement driver's license mailed out by requesting it over the phone. This pretty much means that you can get your friend's driver's license mailed out to them and all you have to do then is intercept that piece of mail.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "The SSN is a practical primary key for identifying people, that's all. "

        Actually....SSN is not a very good choice to use for a primary key for identifying people. It is not 100% unique to people. There are people, for religious reasons, that do not have one. People can apply for and change SSN's...there are 'special' ssn's assigned to foreign workers, and even ones that are more than 9 digits to foreign military personnel assigned to our military bases for periods..etc. Hell, to this day, there are still

    • Those in the US on student visas - like my GF - can't get SSNs, so they can't get phones. Of course, they can get the pre-paid ones that terists prefer...
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That is just absolute nonsense - when you friend gets a job (any part-time job on a college campus, say) she need to fill out an application for an SSN. She would use that number for everything she wants (like a cc, phone, paying taxes etc) - however, she can't ever claim any money from social security (for unemployment benefits or anything like that).

        • by cdrguru (88047)

          I thought now all persons in the US (legally or illegally) were now eligible for Social Security benefits. There was some recent decision about this specifically addressing undocumented workers. After all, they are paying in so shouldn't they get all the benefits? At least that was the thinking that led to this.

    • by v1 (525388) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @01:33PM (#26021635) Homepage Journal

      The initial basic list of people that can require your SSN, when the SSN was created was simply:

      A- the IRS (which can also mean the person that submits your taxes)
      B- your employer
      C- your bank

      There is a more comprehensive and current list at the US Govt SSN web page [ssa.gov]:

      -Internal Revenue Service for tax returns and federal loans;
      -Employers for wage and tax reporting purposes;
      -States for the school lunch program;
      -Banks for monetary transactions;
      -Veterans Administration as a hospital admission number;
      -Department of Labor for workersâ(TM) compensation;
      -Department of Education for Student Loans;
      -States to administer any tax, general public assistance, motor vehicle or drivers license law -within its jurisdiction;
      -States for child support enforcement;
      -States for commercial driversâ(TM) licenses;
      -States for Food Stamps;
      -States for Medicaid;
      -States for Unemployment Compensation;
      -States for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; or
      -U.S. Treasury for U.S. Savings Bonds

      I don't see "AT&T", "Apple", or even "Cell phone providers" on that list anywhere.

      Further, they state:

      If a business or other enterprise asks you for your number, you can refuse to give it. However, that may mean doing without the purchase or service for which your number was requested. For example, utility companies and other services ask for a Social Security number, but do not need it; they can do a credit check or identify the person in their records by alternative means.

      Giving your number is voluntary, even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask why your number is needed, how your number will be used, what law requires you to give your number, and what the consequences are if you refuse. The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours.

      Since they discuss "consequences", I wonder if that means they can refuse to sell you services or products if you refuse to give them your SSN. Kind of looks that way? But since it specifically says you should ask what LAW requires you to give your ssn, it would appear that they must give you an alternate option. But it also says that may mean doing without the purchase or service for which your number was requested so this web page appears to present conflicting information.

      Aaaand 35 minutes on the phone later...

      AT&T wireless customer support number is 1-800-331-0500, 1, 2
      - prepaid has no credit check and thus does not require ssn
      - iphones cannot do prepaid, can only do monthly plans
      - monthly plan requires credit check to determine the amount of the necessary deposit
      - ssn required for credit check **
      - rep was not aware of options for paying the largest deposit in leu of the credit check

      called AT&T wireless customer care at 1-866-801-3600
      - rep agreed with everything I've said so far but is unsure if AT&T offers an alternate method of credit check or flat rate downpayment to skip the credit check.
      - rep contacted the AT&T Activation dept (they have NO external phone number for this department!)
      - the activation dept said I need to go to an AT&T wireless store and they can perform the activation without a credit check, but will require a deposit, most likely the upper limit deposit of $1,000, and will issue you a "generic id" in leu of your SSN

      You can also call Activation at Apple, at 1-800-694-7466, but they may not know how to deal with this, and may not be able to handle this flat rate deposit and issuing of a generic id at an Apple store. (it's possible the law may require them to here also, but they will probably just direct you to the nearest AT&T wireless store)

      ** I wonder if your ssn is truly required for a credit check? According to the SSA web si

    • by socsoc (1116769)

      Just to track you in case you do something bad? Yes. Like not pay your bill.

      Your SSN is no secret. Anyone that attended a university in the early 2000s knows that many of them had to scramble to replace your student id number (SSN) with an actual student id number. Prior to that, your SSN was all over campus. It's also probably in the database of most utilities, banks and credit cards that you have used. How is this surprising that AT&T requests it?

      You gave Sprint a deposit for 7 years? I hope y

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "You gave Sprint a deposit for 7 years? I hope you got some interest on that..."

        Sprint, like other utilities I've given deposits to, have usually paid it back to me in 1-2 years after I've been a good, paying customer.

    • by Strep (956749)
      Uh-oh. You're thinking of using someone else's SSN? That sounds a lot like what LDrew got in trouble for; that is, pretending to be someone you're not.
  • You know what the irony is?
    I live in india and have had my SIM card blocked _every_ time i have got one, the phone company citing 'lack of documentary proof of identity' every time inspite of me submitting whatever proof i had.

    The government has mandated all these proofs but this case proves it doesnt make a difference in the end.
    I really dont know which is better : getting a working phone connection with no documents or this 'secure' method. I mean how hard is it for someone to fake a photocopy of a grubby

    • by mobby_6kl (668092)

      There's more hilarity to this story, apparently the terrorists were supplied with the SIM cards by Indian police:

      One of the two Indian men arrested for illegally buying mobile phone cards used by the gunmen in the Mumbai attacks was a counterinsurgency police officer who may have been on an undercover mission.
      ...
      The implications of Ahmed's involvement that Indian agents may have been in touch with the militants and perhaps supplied the SIM cards used in the attacks added to the growing list of questions o

    • by argiedot (1035754)
      I agree that it doesn't seem to serve any purpose, but it's incredibly easy to get a connection. Vodafone will give you one in 2 hours, Airtel in a day.
  • so is it OK to require paper to buy a SIM card now? I thought it was evil. Or maybe just in the countries where terrorists come from, because everyone there must be a terrorist? or just in places where it wouldn't affect me?
    • . . . I see this guy in an evil Nazi uniform, speaking with a John Cleese Nazi accent:

      "Papers pleaze!"

      (Frighteningly long pause)

      "Zeeze papers are in order!"

      "You may now place your call!"

    • by rhsanborn (773855)
      It isn't that everyone is a terrorist. It's simply to stop the terrorists from having easy access. You, honorable citizen that your are, have nothing to worry about because you don't have anything to hide, right? Or at least that's the mantra. Let's ignore the potential for abuse...
  • What's so great? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yams (637038) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @12:20PM (#26021025) Homepage Journal
    I don't understand how this is relevant to slashdot. What is so technically challenging about a fake SIM card? I am from India, and we see fake IDs here on a regular basis.

    These people are terrorrists - if they can procure an AK-47, why should anything prevent them from procuring an illegal ID and illegal SIM card.

    Maybe India can make tougher laws, but that would only hamper those who need to to obtain a SIM card for legal purposes - more paperwork. I doubt that terrorists would be bothered by paperwork.

    I can understand Times of India (or any other Indian newspaper) publishing this article, but why Slashdot? If we're going to blindly publish articles from TOI, why not publish this one [indiatimes.com]?

    • It's relevant because a lot of us don't want to be required to provide ID to buy a SIM in our own countries. This example means that we can point at India and say:
      • In India, this scheme is already in effect.
      • It has been shown not to work.
      • Implementing it here would be costly and provide no benefit.
      • Why do you, politician coming up for re-election, want to spend taxpayers' money, in a recession, on something that won't work?
      • by TimWox (1425975)

        It has been shown not to work.

        Why do you think it does not work? It's the clue that led to the dead man and to his nephew. It may now lead to the actual planners. True, it did not prevent the attacks. But it can lead to the capture of some people, which can prevent future attacks. So ultimately it does work.

        • Why do you think it does not work? It's the clue that led to the dead man and to his nephew. It may now lead to the actual planners.

          Your assumption is that it is the only clue that will lead anywhere.

          Furthermore, the ToI article is very focused on pointing out that, "the Pakistan-based terrorists exploited the weaknesses in the issuance of SIM cards" which seems (to me at least) like editorializing for ratcheting up the restrictions even further. Which is a topic that needs disputing and slasdot is good place to find people who can dispute it on technical grounds if not libertarian grounds.

          • by jxxx (88447)

            I love how they drop "alleged" after the second sentence. This journalism is so yellow, I'm having trouble reading the page.

            And what a model of efficiency and effectiveness. The police discovered the man of the house was (several years) dead after paying him a visit. Laugh.

            The only feeling I'm left with is that I can't trust the reporter, or (if the reporter is otherwise deemed credible) the police forces cited.

    • by gr8dude (832945)

      What is so technically challenging about a fake SIM card?

      A SIM card is a smart card, which is a computer with a processor, file system and ACLs that are enforced.

      Some files on the SIM card cannot be read, therefore you cannot make a clone of a SIM (it is so by design, once the card is not in the personalization phase anymore), even if you have the transport key.

      If someone can clone a SIM it means they were able to get past the smart card security mechanisms - which is a big deal.

      But.. it is not, in this cas

  • Surely a mobile phone is not a vital part of a terrorist operation - otherwise there would have been no atrocities before 1985.

    Once the baddies get wise to the fact that they can still disrupt our lives without the need to talk to each other, then how will we track them?

    Of course, if the government thought that mobiles were vital to carrying out terror, they'd just start jamming them within the operational zone. It seems to me that both sides benefit from being able to talk to each other - or do we just

  • by unassimilatible (225662) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @12:32PM (#26021113) Journal
    The papers belonged to the dead uncle of a 26-year-old man living in Kolkata; he is suspected of being a collaborator of the terrorists

    I gotta hand it to him; if that dead uncle can be a collaborator when he is dead, he must really be committed to his nutty cause.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "I gotta hand it to him; if that dead uncle can be a collaborator when he is dead, he must really be committed to his nutty cause."

      He found out the "forty virgins" were male Slashdotters, and opted for a different eternal martyrdom instead.

  • breaking news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @01:08PM (#26021405) Homepage

    not only can everyone in the country get a mobile phone. Terrorists can too!

    Quick - more laws needed. Terrorists should not be able to get phones.

  • In this case I think it's the cops who are exploiting a weakness (that most cell phone users are identifiable unless they take special precautions), not that anything is wrong with cops using what they can under the circumstances. But, as a general matter, private communications are a GOOD thing. If we have a situation where a criminal wore gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints, we normally wouldn't say they exploited a weakness of the fingerprint system that needs to be plugged by outlawing gloves.
  • What would they have done differently, had they "known" sooner ? Does buying a phone help corrupt cops stop terrorism ? They're not going to do a damned thing. You could have the phone dealer drag the suspects to the cop shop, throw them in a cell and the lazy maggots won't bother locking it, because they support the cause.

  • ...don't kill people. Unless of course they trigger a bomb :P
    It only let them gloat to their overlords on cell phones - come on - they easily could have grabbed that at gun point from any hostage. The situation would not have changed significantly at all if they did not have those SIM cards
    *Any* regulation in India is just another source of corruption. India is plagued by a tolerant (or maybe its a care-a-damn) society and a political system which preys on that.
    This news is just the same political m
  • What sort of lame criminals go to the store and *purchase* SIM cards?
    • by mean pun (717227)

      What sort of lame criminals go to the store and *purchase* SIM cards?

      The ones that don't want to attract attention before it's too late?

  • Is it true that in India, you need to produce identity papers to buy SIM cards and how did they get caught if they used forged documents ?

  • In most places of the world (I've been to) including the USA, I've never been required to show ID to get a local pre-pay SIM. It is simply cheaper to forward all calls to your temporary SIM (through a suitable VoIP provider) and have people call you at that (land-line) number. Sure its a 'hole' in the system, but the "George Bush system" is at its end.

    If people can get over the witch-hunt (especially in the USA) we will be in a safer world. Your odds of dying in a terrorist attack are about those of winning

  • Here is an interesting take from a Bombayite. [indianexpress.com]

    India is on a slippery slope to authoritarianism...there is a call for a strong state from many influential sections. They want a 'world-standard anti-terrorism plan'. [hindustantimes.com] But everyone forgets a world standard anti terrorism plan is putting band aid on a wound and not asking how the wound happened.

    Many of us does not remember the last time we had an emergency - decalared by Indira Gandhi [wikipedia.org] and what it meant for civil liberties or even the idea of a democracy.

    M
  • Goes to show that if you need your papers in order to do something then only the criminals will have their papers in order. I hear this all the time, "But how do we know if a terrorist is getting on the plane unless we ask for identification?" Answer is, you don't because:
    (A) Terrorists tend to get fake ID,
    (B) If they don't get fake ID it's because they know that since this is their first time committing a crime they will not be on any list, and
    (C) Most times it does not matter who's ID they use because f

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