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Cellphones Security News

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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  • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by More_Cowbell (957742) * on Sunday December 07, 2008 @01:21PM (#26021531) Journal
    Benjamin Franklin [quotationspage.com] said it best, and I couldn't agree more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 07, 2008 @01:23PM (#26021551)

    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 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

  • Re:Easy solution (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 07, 2008 @02:12PM (#26022069)
    If Benjamin Franklin were in a position where he was afforded temporary safety at the expense of an essential liberty (the sovereignty over the contents of his own mind) then one would most probably surmise that he was being tortured or otherwise pressured for information. In which case, as soon as said information is disclosed his essential liberty and, indeed, essential life are forfeit.

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