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Proposed Law Would Require ID To Buy Prepaid Phones 615

Posted by timothy
from the stamps-too-because-of-ransom-notes dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) have introduced legislation that would require buyers to present identification when purchasing a prepaid cellphone and require phone companies to keep the information on file, as they do with users of landline phones and subscription-based cellphones. 'This proposal is overdue because for years, terrorists, drug kingpins, and gang members have stayed one step ahead of the law by using prepaid phones that are hard to trace,' says Schumer. Civil liberties advocates have concerns about the proposal, saying there must be a role for anonymous communications in a free society, adding that the space for such anonymous or pseudonymous communications has been narrowed since pay phones, for example, have largely disappeared."
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Proposed Law Would Require ID To Buy Prepaid Phones

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  • by JustinRLynn (831164) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:38PM (#32365806)
    It seems to me that requiring the presentation of ID before purchasing something for the purpose of associating it with an identity for future use won't work as there's no way that you can guarantee the identity the person presents is genuine. All this law will do is encourage people to present fake identification when purchasing said goods, especially if they're going to use them for nefarious purposes.
  • by x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:40PM (#32365838)
    This is already being done in India and South Africa (where prepaid phones are everywhere and contract phones are nearly non-existent) and it's retarded. I am American and I travel into and out of South Africa all the time and no-one wants to sell me a SIM card. You have to be able to prove residence in South Africa to get one and I live in Mozambique (and Botswana beforehand). Theft is RAMPANT in SA and people think having a name on file of who the phone's number is will stop anything? I have to find a South African who will buy me a SIM card any time I need to call from within SA.

    India implemented this law before they had their terrorist attacks last year and it sure did a lot to prevent those eh?
  • by Nichotin (794369) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:44PM (#32365898)
    A few years back, you could buy prepaid phones in Norway without any ID, but then they made a law so that all prepaid cards had to be registered with social security number. It is now harder for most mindless criminals to call anonymously, so they use their own names and get caught easily. The more clever ones simply use other peoples social security numbers when they want anonymous (for them) prepaid numbers.
    Because of the latter, I am concerned about the consequences. Maybe they should legalize drugs and get rid of the top reason why people would want a anonymous phone in the first place, but I can only dream.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:45PM (#32365908)

    All this law will do...

    Is rake yet even more money through the business of government and set a precedent for the next expansion of power and revenue. They couldn't give a damn whether people obey or disobey the law, or whether the law "succeeds" or "fails" to achieve their stated goals; in fact, mass disobedience and failure is justification for even more power and revenue.

    You're not in the business of government, are you?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:45PM (#32365920)
    Sorry, freedom and liberties do not come easily. You have to fight to get them, fight to keep them, and live in a dangerous world. If you want to be safe at night then vote for Stalin. Oh wait....
  • Re:Fake ID? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:46PM (#32365928)
    Or use a phone/SIM purchased outside the US or use a stolen phone, etc. They also might not care, I don't think the 9/11 hijackers cared if we ID'd them afterwords since they were already willing to die for their cause.
  • Re:.. right ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zegota (1105649) <rpgfanatic.gmail@com> on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:49PM (#32366012)
    "Mr. Fred, we see you purchased a phone, and then three months later, used that phone to call in a bomb threat." "Oh, I bought that for my friend Steve." "All right, we'll check him out." This law has many problems, but that's not one of them.
  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:49PM (#32366014) Homepage Journal
    Of course it would take a piece of legislation that completely tramples anonymous communication to convince two congressmen from two very different states to put aside partisan politics and play ball together. Why is it that the politicos can only team up on things that screw the citizens, but not the ones that help the citizens? Fucking assholes.
  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:51PM (#32366040)

    all the fake IDs out there

    I prefer to think of them a "free enterprise IDs" - the best kind, really....

  • Re:Yep (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jgagnon (1663075) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:52PM (#32366058)

    I see a revolution or civil war happening long before a political solution would ever arise.

  • by chicago_scott (458445) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:52PM (#32366062) Journal

    So you're taking away the my freedom to have legal anonymous communication in order to catch only the stupid criminals?

    Sounds like a bad trade-off to me.

  • by msimm (580077) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:52PM (#32366072) Homepage
    What it will do is enable the government (for whatever hair-brained reasons) to track LAW ABIDING citizens. Criminals, those people bent on breaking the law, will simply buy the phones off-market or use falsified documentation.

    Yet another brilliantly thought-out law which misses mark entirely. Maybe someday only criminals will have rights and everyone else will be guilty until proven innocent?
  • Re:Yep (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:54PM (#32366102) Journal

    No mo' whistleblowers.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:54PM (#32366114) Homepage

    Why does it always have to be a "fight"?... (I catch what you're saying; but a society apparently spawning the habit of presenting everything as a fight has another set of problems)

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @01:56PM (#32366144) Journal

    People made the same arguments against POS background checks for firearms but we still wound up with those....

    Never underestimate the amount of liberty that people are willing to sacrifice in exchange for the illusion of security.

  • Re:.. right ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gmai l . com> on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:02PM (#32366258)

    Are you kidding? Knowing who was using a phone after the fact is only one aspect of the story. They also want to know who to wiretap during criminal investigations. If Fred buys Al's cellphone with Fred's ID, then the feds won't know who's phone to tap. This law has many problems, and in a large portion of situations this is one of them.

  • by dmesg0 (1342071) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:02PM (#32366264)

    Expect equal or better signal while using a foreign SIM (because you get to choose a network,e.g. AT&T or T-mobile, instead of being tied to just one).

    And expect to pay a lot for roaming.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:03PM (#32366272) Journal

    Uh, hello?

    You don't trample over the rights of innocent citizens to catch the "bad guys". That is the example of bad law, such as the proposed law. This would neither a:make it easier to track people nor b:confirm the person registering is who they are. There is no way to enforce as such, as others have mentioned. Fake ID's, phones registered via proxies (such as other people), there are a million ways to get around this that take minimal to no effort.

    Instead, you go through this thing which already exists, it's called the court/justice system. It's worked for hundreds of years, last I checked. Especially given that it's assuming this is for law enforcement or another legal entity which should be well versed in following the laws which govern them.

    You know, you can track people via those warrant things already. It's called warrants for wiretaps or you can do the pen register thing, if I recall loopholes for that still exist. /what a newfangled idea! *facepalm*

  • by jgagnon (1663075) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:04PM (#32366292)

    Especially considering governments and law enforcement are never corrupt.

  • by Applekid (993327) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:05PM (#32366306)

    Ok. This new "law" would simply create a new black market for thieves. Increasing their profit streams.

    Of course. Then the laws can become even MORE encroaching and overreaching in the name of stamping out whatever newly made illicit activity is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:05PM (#32366308)
    Shouldn't we be more worried how to make it harder for executives of large oil companies to totally fuck-up an entire ecosystem!? Better yet shouldn't we be making it harder for executives of large finical institutions to fuck over the wold economy? I'd even settle on a discussion about removing liability caps for companies that take shortcuts? Why are we waisting time & money on this? If I were in TX or NY I'd vote these guys out!

    ----
    Tell congress release the names of the wall street execs, and leave finical reform to the mob!

  • by alexborges (313924) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:07PM (#32366350)

    With the weight of current cellphones, its hard to break anyone's head. A gun, on the other hand, can kill people right out of the store.

    Different things bro.

    Although i would oppose this law and the background checks, your analogy does not stand.

  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sancho (17056) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:08PM (#32366394) Homepage

    Over the years, we as a society have become very good at dismantling civil unrest. I don't think a civil war or revolution would be successful.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:09PM (#32366408) Homepage

    If you must rely on anonimity to have free soeech, then you already don't have much of it. Not more than people in China or Iran.

  • by alexborges (313924) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:10PM (#32366414)

    Stupid criminals to the point of not having fake id's are probably the easyest to catch anyhow.

  • Easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ambiguous Coward (205751) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:18PM (#32366572) Homepage

    This is easy to solve: just put a EULA with the phone requiring the purchaser not to use said phone for illegal purposes.

  • Let's see... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:19PM (#32366588) Journal

    No appreciable hardship to corporate sponsors (in fact, forcing registration gives them a whole new dataset to mine and sell). Check.
    Small chance of political backlash from constituents? (Off of slashdot, few seem to care about rights when it comes to tech). Check.
    More power to abusive LEAs? Check.

    Yep. This things already as good as passed.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:23PM (#32366668) Journal

    A gun, on the other hand, can kill people right out of the store.

    That's completely irrelevant to the argument that I was making and contributes nothing to this conversation. POS background checks don't catch people that kill, nor will a POS ID check for disposable cell phones catch criminals. Criminals will simply do with cell phones what they currently do with guns -- steal them or bribe others to purchase them on their behalf.

    The end result will be the same that it was with firearms -- the law abiding people cede more power to the state while the criminals go about their business as they always have and always will.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:23PM (#32366674)

    It's true that anonymous speech shouldn't be necessary in and of itself. But as part of a larger system of free speech it is essential, it acts as the last sanity check on the system such that if everything else is taken away, anonymous speech remains simply by virtue of being the hardest to take away.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:24PM (#32366686) Homepage Journal

    A gun, on the other hand, can kill people right out of the store.

    So can a car, most cleaners that you use in your household, various drugs you buy at the pharmacy (over the counter), a baseball bat, a golf club, a nail gun, a car battery, anti-freeze, a kitchen knife set, and so on and so on and so on. Just because something can be used to kill a person doesn't mean it will be used to kill a person. Just sayin'

  • by qortra (591818) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:24PM (#32366690)

    Thank you for making slashdot that much dumber.

    Dumber than when an Anonymous Coward trolls hard for tougher laws against privacy? While your thinking about your own hypocrisy, chew on this for a while: it is possible to find criminals without making businesses keep Orwellian records of their customers. I'd quote Benjamin Franklin, but I'd wager that the quote is already in this thread already.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:27PM (#32366740)
    Different things bro.

    Yep. One of them has a Constitutional guarantee against the right to bear being infringed, and the other doesn't. Not just "congress shall make no law", a blanket "the right ... shall not be infringed." Can you guess which is which?

  • Re:Yep (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:32PM (#32366846) Journal

    He's saying that the original intent of the interstate commerce clause wasn't to grant Congress the power to control what we could purchase. It was to enable Congress to prevent the individual states from setting up trade barriers with one another, i.e: New York imposes a tariff on goods made in Pennsylvania.

    Somehow I doubt that the framers imagined it being used to pass legislation compelling all Americans to purchase something from private enterprise (the health insurance mandate) or telling them that they can't indulge in cannabis consumption in the privacy of their own homes.

  • by msauve (701917) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:32PM (#32366850)

    And expect exorbitant pricing when roaming internationally.

    Afterall, what self-respecting terrorist would jeopardize their credit rating by not paying their bill?

  • Re:Yep (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:37PM (#32366932) Homepage Journal

    Step 1: Pay a teenager double the cost of the phone to buy the phone with his identity.
    Step 2: Have teenager report the phone as stolen.
    Step 3: Sell to terrorist @ 3x the cost of the phone.
    Step 4: PROFIT.

  • by Amigan (25469) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:42PM (#32367002) Homepage
    I would think that it's more important to prove you can vote than show an id to buy a tracfone. Obviously, Chuckie doesn't. jerry
  • by timothy (36799) * Works for Slashdot on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:45PM (#32367052) Homepage Journal

    I think that it is a little too big brother to require registering a cell phone to a person, but for a weapon, whose primary purpose is to injure... I think you need a reality check."

    According to Schumer, et al, they want to track phones because they could be used (as well as by nefarious people doing *other* nefarious things) ... as part of weapons.

    And while you could argue the semantics (purpose vs. use), I don't agree that the primary purpose of a weapon is *to* injure; it's to prevent injury from occurring.

    timothy

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:47PM (#32367082)
    I thought terrorism was completely on topic because, as you said, that's the whole ^H^H^H^H^H stated reason for the law.

    Fixed that for you.
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:57PM (#32367234)

    Or what happens is the same thing that happened when pseudoephedrine. It was made where one had to put down a card, register and all that crap.

    Of course this did absolutely nothing to stop the meth labs. They just sourced their stuff from Mexico, or if in the US; robbed the trucks before they got to the stores.

    It will be exactly the same with phones and SIM cards. People will just source the anonymous phones from Mexico, and because a lot of people use Mexican SIM cards in the US, it won't cost them much more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2010 @02:59PM (#32367282)
    Apparently WW2 was the only conflict the US could justify participating in, considering it's the only one used as a good example.
  • Re:Yep (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:02PM (#32367322) Journal

    Really, don't you people realise the only way to achieve the latter is to have that dreadful power of control what you can purchase?

    Bullshit. Congress can prohibit the states from putting up artificial barriers to trade without having the power to tell me that I can't grow my own wheat or cannabis.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:06PM (#32367380)

    A gun, on the other hand, can kill people right out of the store.

    So can a car, most cleaners that you use in your household, various drugs you buy at the pharmacy (over the counter), a baseball bat, a golf club, a nail gun, a car battery, anti-freeze, a kitchen knife set, and so on and so on and so on. Just because something can be used to kill a person doesn't mean it will be used to kill a person. Just sayin'

    Just like all the items in that list, a gun is a very versatile tool with a wide variety of uses, and is not made for the sole purpose of killing.

  • by Lakitu (136170) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:08PM (#32367408)

    it has always been a struggle, and always it will be.

    It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.

    John Philpot Curran, 1790

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:09PM (#32367416)

    If you must rely on anonimity to have free soeech, then you already don't have much of it.

    True. However, anonymity is the last guard against complete loss of free speech, and it is the easiest one to protect via legal means. Someone is either anonymous or isn't - this doesn't depend on local customs of anonymity, or on what is acceptable anonymity or not.

    This is why the ability to say things anonymously is so important. Even if assholes run the show and try to use stupid laws to silence you, if they can't find you, they can't silence you.

  • Google Voice? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kalel666 (587116) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:10PM (#32367440)

    I recently got off the Verizon teat and bought a prepaid phone (several, actually). No more contracts for me, thank you. Though I have 4 or 5 prepaids now, I use my Google Voice number with all of them. It makes it easy for my freinds and family to reach me no matter what phone I use. So what good would registering for a prepaid do, hmmm? I don't use the numbers assigned to the phone anyway. I guess they'll have to outlaw Google Voice.

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:16PM (#32367554)

    ..why is it that no one has a better idea or alternative; just rants on how it won't work. I'm not saying this just to flame bait - personally I think /. has some of the most intelligent folks I've read posts from. So how about coming up with some better alternatives? I'd just like to see some of the creative and experienced people here suggest some ideas rather than just bemoan the stupidity of others.

    Not doing something is an alternative to doing it.

  • Re:Yep (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:20PM (#32367610) Journal

    It's worded just fine.

    [The Congress shall have power] to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes

    You'll note that it doesn't say "require Commerce" (i.e: the individual mandate) or "prohibit commerce" (i.e: the controlled substances act, farm production quotas, etc.) The problem with the Constitution is that there's no way to account for idiots that will read shit into it that isn't there -- like the now debunked claim that the 2nd amendment only protected the right to join the National Guard.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:26PM (#32367712) Journal

    Remember, in Korea, we were basically fighting to maintain the status quo ante

    Then why did we advance to the Yalu?

  • by binary paladin (684759) <binarypaladin@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:29PM (#32367758)

    It's a fight because it requires resisting the natural flow of society, which is AWAY from liberty. I would call going upstream on a river a fight.

    The slothful nature of society as a whole the corruptive nature of power and money means that corrupt people are usually in leadership positions directing a mass of ignorant and lazy people. This does NOT cultivate liberty.

    While I get that the term is overused, in context to preserving liberty, it sure as hell is a "fight." I look forward to a day when it isn't, but that's going to require a serious evolutionary leap among our primitive species.

  • by timothy (36799) * Works for Slashdot on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:31PM (#32367800) Homepage Journal

    "It's interesting that nobody has mentioned this snippet from TFA yet:

    Privacy advocates worry that prepaid cellphone registration might be a step toward something even more worrisome in their view: identity registration to access the Internet.

    How long until the security establishment starts pushing for that?"

    In some places, they have! :)

    Some people like to think of Government as a permanent theme park inside of which we live, and must be this tall to ride, and all the snacks are free of triglycerides; They have trouble understanding why anyone would object to this penumbra of beneficence and orderly, pre-made rules and outcomes ...

    timothy

  • Re:Yep (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Psion (2244) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:32PM (#32367822)
    What if I -- assuming I were a terrorist or one of the other monsters-under-the-bed these legislators are trying to scare us with -- kill the teenager and just steal his phone regardless of the calling plan? As a corpse, he won't be reporting it stolen, and his parents are likely to keep the phone in service for a while in the hopes that dear Billy will call home eventually. I could collect several phones this way and even pull the batteries until just before I'm ready to blow up a building, score a big drug sale, rat on a local government official anonymously, or otherwise do something terrible.
  • No. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Montezumaa (1674080) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:36PM (#32367884)

    No one should be required to show identification(ID) to purchase anything. I have no problem with business asking to see an ID when people use credit/debt cards, as it is a means of account holder security and that information is not kept on file. If I purchase something in cash, then I will never show my ID, except in cases where I purchase a firearm.

    Felons, and other barred from owning a firearm, are the reason for showing an ID and the point of purchase. Of course, in a private sell I do not have to show ID. I do not agree with showing an ID in this case(as I believe we should "scarlet letter" felons and spouse/child abusers), but whatever.

    Regardless, this is a fools dream and will only impact the people who abide by the law. Those that want a phone and to stay anonymous will continue to do so, if and when this bill become laws. I am just tired of the various government working to mass-grab our private information in the name of "security".

    How about the U.S. Government just work on completely and utterly wiping our enemy off the map?

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:37PM (#32367898)

    Hey, idiot... nice way to label yourself an intelligent, open-minded debater right off the start.

    Lots of things can help catch criminals. Warrantless searches, warantless wiretaps, torture, indefinite pre-trial jail, no trial or kangaroo courts... Being opposed to all that does not mean being pro-crime. The issue is misuse of those rights by law enforcement agencies or anyone who has access to such powers. The police cannot be trusted to respect the spirit of the law, nor even the letter if they can get away with it. There's plenty of cases of violence, planted evidence, unfair trials... It may be worth wondering if we've not reached a point where all those "crime-fighting" measures are not more harmful to honnest citizens than actual crime is.

  • by gink1 (1654993) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:39PM (#32367948)

    One thing is certain, these knee jerk laws certainly erode the rights of citizens who in no way were part of the event causing the stupid reaction.

    But really, since when has our government cared about freedom and rights? Being elected is a concern and getting tax money also is.
    But like dogs, they seem to live entirely in the present and are incapable of extrapolating the long term consequences of all of these laws.

    But they sure know how to raise Millions of Corporate contributions and note that these "sponsors" also have no stake in public freedoms.

  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Capt. Skinny (969540) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @03:46PM (#32368024)
    Successful? It would never get off the ground -- participants would be labeled "terrorists" by federal and state governments, and the rest of our society would concur to avoid being labeled "terrorists" themselves. And the irony of a national aversion to revolution in the US would be completely ignored.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2010 @04:07PM (#32368330)

    Gimme a device that has network access, a microphone, and a speaker. That's a phone. Except it's a phone that isn't burdened by legacies, such as oh say, CALEA.

  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @04:21PM (#32368536) Journal

    Even with the ID of the teenager, you're assuming that the teenager will be able to accurately describe somebody who he/she only met once, possibly years earlier. What, you don't really think criminals would ask their *friends* to do such favors, do you?

    This is unconstitutional because it destroys a major venue for anonymous speech. Centuries of history have proven that such venues are necessary to carry out legal acts of political dissent that otherwise result in all sorts of abuses.

  • Re:Google Voice? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by splatter (39844) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @04:34PM (#32368740)

    they don't care what number the person dials into only what number / carrier they need to wire tap. I don't think google helps.

  • by SavSoul (669561) <savagesoul&gmail,com> on Thursday May 27, 2010 @04:36PM (#32368756) Homepage Journal
    Ya, force them to go back to stealing phones. That is much more safe for the public. This is a pain in the ass for everyone involved, a huge waste of time and money and will just push the drug dealers to either clone phones or steal them at a higher rate. It will not and cannot help.
  • by DesScorp (410532) <<DesScorp> <at> <Gmail.com>> on Thursday May 27, 2010 @04:46PM (#32368880) Homepage Journal

    Why does it always have to be a "fight"?...

    Because Jefferson said that the Tree of Liberty had to be occasionally watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants, not the idle chatter of a message board.

  • Re:Yep (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, 2010 @04:55PM (#32368982)

    How would you profit after SIM and IMEI are disabled?

  • by Dr Damage I (692789) on Thursday May 27, 2010 @05:19PM (#32369238) Journal

    "The purpose of the weapon is to injure"

    The primary use of handguns is to punch small holes in pieces of paper and the primary use of rifles is to hunt non human prey, also, for both, to plink beer cans.

    choosing to define the primary function of an object on the basis of some usage other than the how it is primarily used because that purpose suits ones political agenda is less than entirely honest

  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reziac (43301) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @06:19PM (#32369904) Homepage Journal

    If there was no limit on the number of *chickens* he could produce, why does that matter??

    The real point of that case is that it says, "We forbid you to produce this, and require you to purchase the exact same thing from someone else (so the someone else can make as much money as we think they should make)."

    But if the object is to encourage economic recovery -- it backfires, because if this guy foregoes the wheat entirely, now can't produce as many chickens, and he becomes LESS properous. If he does buy the wheat, he incurs a greater cost per chicken, so again he becomes LESS properous. In either case, he loses prosperity by exactly the same amount as the cost of that wheat which he was required to buy rather than produce for himself. Net economic gain = at best zero.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 27, 2010 @10:33PM (#32371790) Journal

    We have the right to do whatever the hell we want as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others or infringe on some power specifically delegated to the Government (i.e: I can't sign a treaty with a foreign power)

    You must be one of those people that thinks the 9th and 10th amendments don't exist or hasn't even heard of them.

  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Friday May 28, 2010 @03:26AM (#32372996) Journal

    Nullification is unconstitutional.

    Like hell it is. Nullification is the entire purpose of our right to trial by jury, among other things. When the government exceeds its constitutional authority, it's our right and duty to nullify that action.

    -jcr

  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by treeves (963993) on Friday May 28, 2010 @01:46PM (#32379406) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the American Revolution was fueled by starvation or poverty. What we lack is not hunger but moral conviction. I include myself in that accusation.

Work without a vision is slavery, Vision without work is a pipe dream, But vision with work is the hope of the world.

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